Meet Banago Philippine Bags (+ Support Their Kickstarter!)

Last week, this Kickstarter campaign pitch landed in my inbox. Intrigued by the obviously Filipino word 'Banago' (pronounced ba-NAH-go), I clicked the email open and was immediately drawn in by the vibrant color and modern style of what I knew to be traditional Filipino straw bags. Founder Renée Patron graciously took time out of her busy New York Fashion Week schedule last week to hop on the phone with me and satiate more of my curiosity around Banago.

Banago was a flourishing accessories brand whose factory had been leveled during Typhoon Haiyan. Renée began teaching weavers, mostly women, to become self-employed business owners and to work within the safety of their own homes. Before Haiyan, Banago grew to help provide for the livelihood of over 400 artisans, who became leaders in their communities. Renée herself is a veteran of the fashion industry, with experience in everything from design to production to distribution. Her solid reputation helped land Banago's high-quality, high-fashion bags on the shelves and in pages of Nordstrom, Anthropologie, J.Crew, VogueLucky Magazine and more. 

Watch Renée tell the full Banago story here:

It's just too rare to see a Filipino shine in any industry, even as we've found ourselves in virtually every corner of the world. Renée's hard work cemented Banago's place in all of these retailers and magazines, and for that I admire her.

I want to help Renée and her team restore their factory, their homes and their lives that were destroyed by Haiyan, and hope you do too. The Pintados bag is about to be the 'It' bag of the season 'round these parts!

Aces Interview: Davida Ingram, Gates Foundation Visitor Center

No matter where you go or what you do, your experiences are always punctuated with the memories of the people who left an impact on you. Whenever I go to the Gates Foundation Visitor Center, I make sure to catch up with my friend and one of Seattle's culture savants, Davida Ingram. Davida is an educator at the Gates Visitor Center, meaning her days there are filled with meeting people from all walks of life, taking them on tours and providing them with the richest experience they can possibly have there. Davida and I met way back in our careers, and I'd say the Gates Visitor Center is the perfect place not only to meet Davida, but to get a true sense of her passion for educating others. Definitely take a tour with Davida next time you're at the Gates Visitor Center, and today, get a peek into her life:

What's on your playlist right now?

  • Lake Street Dive (I love their cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back)

  • NighTrain (go see them live)

  • Thee Satisfaction

  • Meklit Hadero (Abbay Mado)

Who is your biggest inspiration today?

Oh, dang. That is really hard. Right now, I am inspired by actors like Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover for their commitments to social justice. I also love that we live in city that is constantly making connections between civic life and social justice.

Describe your style.

How would I describe my style? Fashion-wise—eclectic. I love mixing and matching vintage and contemporary. I was raised by women with style—I have my own and it’s very different but it’s my way of honoring them. People-wise, in terms of style, I love making connections so understanding what’s important to others and what motivates them really matters to me. Like a lot of educators, I think it’s important to keep learning, so I often think about my learning style. I am definitely the person who’s computer is slow because too many things are open.

What's your favorite way to unplug after a busy day of tours?

I am a not-quite-closeted introvert. So, one-on-one conversations really help me unwind. But Thursdays and Sundays are all about Scandal or Game of Thrones. One of my favorite Scandal times is gathering with other community workers who like to bug out about the latest plot twists.

What are you reading?

Honestly. Facebook. In the sense that I curate my “current events” content based on what my friends are posting. Their links take me to places for news. Crunk Feminist CollectiveImpatient OptimistsSalon are regular reads for me. I am also a (proud) nerd so I am usually reading more than one book at a time. My new books are Singing Plants  and a book of poetry called Twerk. Anything by Toni Morrison or Toni Cade Bambara is a good stand by book for me.

What's your favorite meal & beverage?

My favorite meal changes—right now it’s all about smoked salmon, wakame and white rice topped with sesame oil and chili flakes. And I loves cherry Kombucha with chia seeds.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

We have a teen action fair  coming up on May 10 at the Visitor Center and two teen workshops. I see our programs as passports to a global context with an emphasis on young people as change makers. So those two things have me really excited.

Davida Ingram - Gates Visitor Center

Davida Ingram - Gates Visitor Center

Can you tell us a little about the Gates Foundation Visitor Center from your perspective?

On my tours I often share that the best part of my job is that I have learned about so many issues that existed under the radar for me, until I got here. If you walk into our bathrooms, you will see photos of different toilets from around the world, along with info about the over 2.5 billion people who don’t have toilets. I’ve seen myself as a global citizen for many years in terms of my interest in cross-cultural dialog, art, design, music, fashion and more. But my job, and the conversations I have here with staff and especially our visitors, helps me see ways of building affinity with mothers who want to raise their children’s standard of living because they live on less than $2 a day.

What's your favorite thing about the Gates Foundation Visitor Center?

The people. Buildings are nothing without the people. The vision for this place was to inspire our visitors to share and discuss the things that they want to consciously do to make a better world. Now, I almost said the Visitor Center’s public programs were my favorite thing—but *surprise* they are all about people too, whether it’s visitors or our partners from the community. Our recent work parties, family days and teen events are people-centered things that I love about my job, aside from touring.

Is there a specific Gates Foundation Visitor Center visitor/group who's inspired you?

One of my biggest joys comes from working with our teens. We have workshop and special teen committees, and they are filled with really remarkable young leaders who want to make a difference now and as they grow into adulthood. I just had to sit down and tell one of our participants Malaya that I was so proud of her for her recent volunteerism with a group called Birthday Dreams. She’s been helping to organize birthday parties for children in families and foster care that struggle. Birthdays are always big for me so when she mentioned that it really moved me, like I teared up. She and other amazing youth will be presenting at our May 10 Teen Action Fair, and I would encourage anybody to come and check their stories out. They will inspire you.

Any events coming up at the Gates Foundation Visitor Center you're excited for?

Well, if you could not tell, the May 10 Teen Action Fair has me pretty psyched. I love giving young people an opportunity to shine. And it’s incredibly powerful when they have their communities surrounding them and cheering them on. We have a range of different topics that teens will be tackling at the teen action fair—health care in poor countries, education, arts & culture—but at the heart of each of these issues is a young person who sees his or her part in turning the tide. And that is definitely something to get excited about. It’s boring to be cynical.

Thank you!

Find Davida at the Gates Visitor Center.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center is open Tuesdays - Saturdays, 10:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. at 440 5th Ave. N. Street and garage parking are aplenty. 

Register online for a group tour of the Gates Visitor Center.

Check out their events calendar for upcoming special programs.

Join the dialogue! Follow the Visitor Center on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center.

Aces Interview: Chanelle Laurence

Fashion blogging is so. freaking. BORING lately. Somewhere along the line, fashion bloggers all started to look and dress the same - and where's the fun in that? The industry may have jumped the shark, but it only makes the ones who go against the grain stand out even more. I adore following a lot of L.A. fashion bloggers for this reason - no matter what, they are always reppin' that perfect California style. One of my favorites is Chanelle Laurence of The Penelope Times. She's got a distinct style that's all her own, and I love it. I'm also a fan of her store, Penelope's Vintage, and had the pleasure of blogging alongside her at WWDMAGIC in August. She's bold, sassy, laid-back and one of the nicest bloggers I've ever met. Real recognize real and I'm happy to know her. Meet Chanelle:

Chanelle Laurence

Chanelle Laurence

What's on your playlist right now?

Running by Jessie Ware, Another Tomorrow by Lusine, Jessica by Major Lazor, Kilo Kish and anything Classixx.

Describe your style.

My style is edgy with a hint of vintage and ALL LA. I love looking like a tomboy one day and throwing on a dress for brunch the next... it’s always changing but that’s why I love fashion: I can wear whatever I feel like being that day.

Chanelle Laurence

Chanelle Laurence

Who inspires you?

Entrepreneurs, Designers, Go Getters and Edie Sedgwick.

What are you reading?

Right now I’m GLUED to the Shopify blog because I’m a social media + marketing nerd. I also recently started reading The Secret which I can’t wait to finish.

Chanelle Laurence

Chanelle Laurence

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

My boyfriend and I are in the process of working on a clothing line which has been occupying my day dreams for quite some time now. We both graduated from FIDM so it’s been something we’ve been planning for a while. I can’t wait!

Chanelle Laurence

Chanelle Laurence

Aces Interview: Tac Anderson

Twitter was a different world back in 2009. It hadn't reached its tipping point yet, and it felt like a small, manageable community. I found myself making tons of friends and admiring not-yet-friends in many circles - Seattle, blogging, social media, fashion blogging, fashion, hip-hop music, MMA/UFC. You could tweet at anyone and would likely get a response, because we were all trying to figure out what the hell all of this social media hype was and how it'd fit into our lives. Those glory days are gone, but I'm thankful to have people like Tac Anderson still active and awesome in my Twittersphere.

Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson

I think I first learned about Tac through my dear friend and his former colleague, Jordana Bruner. I can't remember if I'd met Tac in real life before, but we did for sure very recently at a local marketing event. I've been following Tac's tweets, Instagrams and blog posts for years, from his own adventures navigating PR and social media in Seattle, then out in London, then back again. Though organization and productivity are never-ending lessons for me, I am a big fan of Tac's Getting Things Done (GTD, as in the David Allen productivity system) Moleskine hack and revisit it often when my to-do list needs a serious shape-up. Tac's like a quiet force in social media nowadays, in that he doesn't post as much but everything he says is good stuff.

Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson

What's on your playlist right now?

  • Cumulus (new local Seattle band)

  • Phantogram

  • White Lies

  • Tokyo Police Club

  • Bloc Party

  • Pixies (always)

  • We Were Promised Jetpacks

Describe your style.

Monochromatic NW Geek meets London.

Really all I need is Doc Martens, 501s, a black (or gray) shirt with the occasional flat cap, scarf and/or cardigan.

I try and keep it simple and everything matches black and gray, especially more black and gray. I grew up in the NW but living in London for a year left its mark.

Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson

Who inspires you?

Everyone and no one. I don't have role models. I don't get inspired by people, but by actions. The everyday decisions to strive to make oneself better is what matters. The things people do, even ordinary people, are what I find inspiring.

Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson

What are you reading?

I love reading. I just launched a new blog, the Book Punk where I review cyberpunk and steampunk books. I also contribute book reviews to the I Hear of Sherlock blog. I just finished Nexus by Seattle author and technologist, Ramez Naam and The Will of the Dead written by steampunk author George Mann. But I'm also really excited about S, a new book by JJ Abrams, which is a book within a book.

Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

2014. I think it's going to be an amazing year.

Thanks Tac! Find him at Fear My Blog and on Twitter.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Lee Smith & Kristen Puckhaber, Rich Kids Brand & Urbanity

I was originally going to post this yesterday, but what better way to kick off Small Business Saturday than with two of my favorite small business owners?

With Mikey McClarron, the reason why Lee & Kristen happened :)

I met Kristen way back when she was co-captain of Western Washington University's hip-hop dance team. I was always in awe of her amazing dancing and impeccably flawless streetwear-laced style. Sassy, smart and always sweet-natured, it's no surprise Kristen now leads the creative vision driving the burgeoning Seattle-based Rich Kids Brand.

Lee is the other half of this stylish power couple and creator behind both Rich Kids Brand and Urbanity Shop. With Lee's leadership, both the brand and shop are flourishing, garnering national attention while staying true to their respective vision. I have always resonated with Rich Kids' motto ("Rich isn't what you have, it's who you have beside you.") Lee is a such a bright entrepreneurial talent that I have a feeling we've only seen the tip of the iceberg with his ventures.

At Agenda

What's on your playlist right now?

Lee:

My playlist right now and pretty much all year around features Lil Wayne (All Mixtapes) with No Ceilings always being at the top, Pusha T, The Weekend, some turn up hood ish and blurbs of Pucks 80's butt rock.

Kristen: 

My current playlist consists of whatever Lee has in the car and my pandora stations combined, which turns out to be kind of all over the place...

  • Jay Z

  • Meek Mill

  • Mya

  • The Postal Service

  • Kendrick Lamar

  • Kanye

  • Prince

  • Lil Wayne

  • Modest Mouse

  • Janet Jackson

  • The Weeknd

  • The Beatles

Describe your style.

Lee:

My style has always been inspired by street culture and high end designers. I love what street and urban style represents, but you can't beat the fit of Saint Laurent or Balmain. You'll always see me in some exclusive Jordan's (og color-ways of course), Balmain Bikers or Japanese Denim, and I'm really feeling these PRSVR napa leather joggers that we just got into the shop. (We brought the leather joggers to Fendi 6 yrs ago) lol. I usually top it off with one of the authentic custom snakeskin hats we did and of course a Rich Kids tee or hoodie. I like to keep it exclusive, but always have some wow pieces that people are familiar with.

Kristen: 

I've never really had to answer this before, so it's weird because I feel like there could be a wrong answer...which there isn't one; since I grew up in the (hip hop) dance world, that has definitely influenced my “contemporary street” style. I dress comfortably, but like to have a little bit of that unique aspect to my wardrobe. I've always been a “thrifter,” I remember going in cliques to the local Value Village in junior high and finding those gem and at the time (late 90's), I didn't know how stylish we were.

Who inspires you?

Lee: 

Honestly my parents have always inspired me and pushed me to be who I want to be. Their support is amazing and I couldn't ask for more. I also get inspired by anyone who lives to push the limits and make their dreams a reality. Style wise of course the Pharrell's and Kanye's of the world, but in terms of business, people like Elon Musk and Richard Branson are people who consistently inspire me to keep on pushing even when things get tough.

Kristen: 

My parents; who are still (happily) married and who are working because they love what they do, not because they have to. My dad builds guitars now [after retiring in '97 as a Major in the Air Force, then after retiring from teaching high school Japanese this past year], and my mom is now an elementary school teacher [after spending time in the Air Force as well and raising my brother and I]. She is also in the midst of getting another teaching certification because she set it is as a goal (not because she has to). That inspires me.

I have been really fortunate to have had family members, friends, peers, etc. around me my whole life that I have always found inspiration in. I think people with creative minds can always find inspiration in even the smallest things. And it goes without saying that Lee inspires me; we constantly challenge each other and the end result is usually something amazing.

What are you reading?

Lee:

I'm not a huge reader because I have the attention span of a two yearr old, but I love to watch videos. I watch a lot of videos on the above mentioned people that inspire me and I like to catch up on articles/interviews of the movers and shakers of the world. I'm am heavy into blogs like: Upscalehype, celebritynetworth, and Forbes.

Kristen: 

I wish I had an answer that would make me sound super refined and cultured, but as of lately, any reading I have been doing consists of Buzzfeed and magazine articles. I have a “to read” book section awaiting me at home, that consists of “The Female Brain” (Louann Brizendine), “Kingdom of Fear” (Hunter S. Thompson), and “Proof of Heaven” (Dr. Eben Alexander), to name a few.

What are you most excited about in the coming months? 

Lee: 

I'm excited of course about the new Urbanity I just opened up in Bellevue Square, all the dope projects I have going on with Rich Kids and the launch of my new tech company. I'm pretty much excited for everything coming up because it's all companies I have started and that I truly believe in. We also have some dope collaborations and releases coming up that everyone will hear about shortly.

Kristen: 

Since the new Urbanity just opened, I'm really excited to see not only the store grow, but what the response to the womens side of the store is directly. I always admit that I do not live and breath fashion, but I do love retail and I love learning trends/brands and implementing them into my day to day (work) life.

I always get excited for upcoming trade shows and it is really interesting going as a buyer and as a vendor, so with future of Rich Kids, I am especially excited to represent at the next upcoming Agenda shows in Long Beach and Las Vegas and see what opportunities arise. We have been working really hard to expand and every day brings something new and different.

The new Urbanity in Bellevue Square!

Thank you!

Find Lee & Kristen online: Rich Kids Brand | Urbanity

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Frank Guanco

While all of my Aces are people I admire in one way or another, sometimes they also feel like family. Today's Ace is just that. Meet Frank Guanco!

Frank Guanco

Frank Guanco

Frank and I worked together at Niketown Seattle, during what could arguably be considered its golden era (when the store opened until whenever it was that I left LOL.) There were so many stylish, hilarious and smart people working together in one retail space, it truly felt like a second home. I know for sure NTS is where I met most of my friends during college. I spent more time at the Swoosh than on extracurricular activities on campus for sure.

Anyway, Frank and I were on the visual merchandising team, and naturally our mad skillz in impeccable t-shirt folds, steaming, wall sets and mannequin outfits have served us well post-Swoosh. I considered Frank and the other guys on my team big brothers. I learned a lot about fashion from a guy's perspective, and from Frank in particular, how raw denim is superior to every other bottom that exists on planet Earth. More on that later.

Frank Guanco

Frank Guanco

LULZ. At one of the infamous FB soirees, back when FB only meant "Frank's Birthday"

Post-Nike, Frank and I don't see each other quite as often but have kept in touch more than with other NTS friends. We've both "come up" in the blogosphere and the Seattle social media community, sharing advice and tips whenever we can meet at Il Corvo for the best pasta lunch ever in life. I adore Sarah, Frank's longtime girlfriend, and knowing they are out there dodging the "When ya gonna get married?" question while preserving a solid, low-profile relationship, I stay inspired in my own, equally-long relationship with Jacob. Also I remember when Frank was still trying to convince Sarah to date him and that's one of my favorite memories to tell mutual friends.

Frank Guanco

Frank Guanco

Probably what I admire most about and share with Frank is a voracious appetite for culture. When we want to learn something, we LEARN IT. Learn more about Frank now:

What's on your playlist right now?

I'm a bit eclectic in what I listen to. Right now, I'm listening to a lot of podcasts (Nerdist, Marc Maron, Bill Simmons, Wine without Worry by Jameson Fink) and anticipating Christmas music. Because Christmas music is rad. Holla to Warm 106.9 this holiday season. Here are the last few albums I've recently bought:

  • John Legend's Love in the Future

  • John Mayer's Paradise Valley

  • Keith Urban's Fuze

  • Arcade Fire's Reflektor

  • Pearl Jam's Lightning Bolt

  • Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped in Red

  • Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream.

Feel free to throw shade, snobs.

Describe your style.

In a word, evolving. I tend to go casual (jeans, tees, and a hoody), but as I get older and care more about what I'm wearing, I've become more cognizant of construction, detail, quality, and what I think is representative of my brand. A typical look would be a wool sport coat, graphic tee, raw selvedge denim, and Lunar Flyknit Chukkas. I love raw denim and the process of wear that jeans go through. And I'm in that weird sub-group of denim nerds that rarely wash their jeans. Again, feel free to throw shade. But I enjoy little details and embellishments; funky Nikes, pops of color, a nice pocket square or tie, a pattern that is vibrant; anything that is a bit skewed to what I think is cool.

Frank Guanco

Frank Guanco

Who inspires you?

To begin with, my mom. She's amazing. A hurricane of relentless and caring. I'm continually amazed by her. I'm also inspired by those that I'm close to and what drives them. How their uniqueness as to what they strive for is very inspiring. I love that I've been fortunate to be around people that are driven to get theirs. It's awesome.

Frank Guanco

Frank Guanco

What are you reading? 

Have two books that I'm going through at the moment: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell (interesting how haters are starting to surface about him when he created an entire movement of writers that have taken his style); The Loved Dog Method by Tamar Geller (because I'm always looking at more ways to connect and train my dog; she's a bit of a handful). Here's what is on deck; The Juice by Jay McInerney (he wrote Bright Lights, Big City and is probably the best wine writer in the world); The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (can't wait to tackle this one).

I also love food and go through cookbooks like Marshawn Lynch goes through suckas. I love reading cookbooks for inspiration and to understand what goes into a chef, restaurant, style, region, whatever; here are my recent cookbooks; Scarpetta by Scott Conant, Le Pigeon by Gabriel Rucker, The Food of Vietnam by Luke Nguyen, Toro Bravo by John Gorham, and the Pitt Cue Co. Cookbook.

Frank Guanco

Frank Guanco

What are you most excited about in the coming months? 

Everything. I'm excited for Christmas. I'm excited to get back on my game with wine. I'm excited for some upcoming trips; Napa Valley to cover Flavor Napa Valley. Napa and Sonoma for Thanksgiving. San Francisco to revisit State Bird Provisions. I'm excited to get back to writing and pick up some ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for sometime; the Unicorn of South Lake Union, Run for Croissants, Pho Week 2.0, my recent juice cleanse, and to maybe, finally, start writing my lifestyle blog.

I'm also excited to watch my puppy grow up. To see her evolve and become the dog she can be.

Finally, I'm excited to see what's in store. For all of us. Let's get it.

Thank you!

Find Frank online: Going For Seconds |  Twitter 

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Kate Franco

In this wonderful world of blogging, I am both a contributor and a reader. Today's Aces interview features one of my favorite bloggers to follow. Meet Kate Franco of Undeniable Style!

Fashion bloggers are a dime a dozen these days, and there's a small handful I keep up with regularly. They each have a distinct style that's all there own, making them standouts in a sea of the same same (see "Do you dress like a 'blogger'?" on IFB.) Kate is definitely on that short list, always coming strong with a savvy edge to that bohemian California style. Every time she's got a new outfit up, I'm like, "YES, GIRL" and wondering where she scored each piece. Most likely, some of those pieces came from Poshmark, where Kate is one part of a wonderful assembly of human beings. Seriously, the Poshmark team is comprised of some of the sweetest, most stylish people in my universe and if I worked anywhere (not for myself), I'd want to be there.

Anywho, I consider Kate my style soul sista because she is always on point. Aside from her sartorialisms, I admire Kate's love of meditation, green smoothies and wellness. You can wear all the clothes in the world, but it's always what's inside that counts.

What's on your playlist right now?

Great question. I have to preface the answer by saying that I am terrible with music! You never want to play name that song/artist/album with me, I'll lose 9 times out of 10. So, I'm going to rely on Spotify to give you the true answer:

Alabama Shakes, Lana Del Ray, Kings of Leon, The Temper Trap & Massive Attack.

Also: John Mayer, Hot Bodies in Motion, Thievery Corporation & Mark Farina. I love Miley's Wrecking Ball. Sorry, can't help it!

My daily commute consists of country, some jazz, classic rock and '90s jams. And Oprah. Lots of Oprah. I'm all over the place. Gotta love satellite radio!

Describe your style.

Constantly evolving. (Thanks for the revolving closet, Poshmark!)

I think in the last couple of years it's settled somewhere between bohemian and edgy -- which I guess is pretty trendy right now, so that works.

I feel my best when I am comfortable. I like oversized, slouchy shapes, cool draping, piles of jewelry and lots of leather. Notorious for buying clothes that are a couple sizes too big for me. I'm going through a hat phase. And a minimalist phase in terms of colors; I'm drawn to neutral palettes lately.

Most importantly, I dress for me and no one else.

I secretly wish I could pull off the granny chic J. Crew kind of look!

Who inspires you?

I consider Gabrielle Bernstein my guru. She's been a huge part of the change in my life the last couple of years and is a constant source of inspiration. I am continually in awe of the passionate team I work with at Poshmark. My soul sisters keep me going, and I am blessed to be surrounded by driven and motivated ladies who are living out their entrepreneurial dreams. Lila & Abby, I'm looking at you!

What are you reading?

I LOVE reading! My grandparents were worried when I was young that I was going to be socially awkward because I always had my nose in a book. (Don't worry, I turned out okay.) Sadly, I don't have the time to pick up a physical book these days. I am currently doing the May Cause Miracles 40 day workbook.

Some books I've listened to recently via Audible:

Blogs & Websites I have bookmarked:

  • Tiny Buddha

  • IFB

  • Plus, a MAJOR twitter addiction. It's seriously my main news source.

Additional:

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

There's so much to be excited about! When you look at each day as a gift, your perspective changes.

Having never traveled abroad, I'm looking forward to upcoming international trips (St. Martin, Tokyo, Greece), celebrating milestones of dear friends, and majorly fun projects both at work and for the blog. Stay tuned!

Aces Interview: Jeanine Pesce

The Create + Cultivate Portland event brought a lot of new badasses into my world. My two favorite speakers from the day were Emma McIlroy of Wildfang, and today's Aces interview, Jeanine Pesce.

It's refreshing to know Jeanine Pesce is somewhere out there being awesome. I can tell you right now that the answers you'll read below are so close to how I would answer these questions, it's scary. Kindred spirits indeed! She automatically became one of my favorites at C+C just because she and I were the only ones there wearing Nike FuelBands. I just don't come across sporty West Coast girls with a soft spot for dirty south hip-hop and an affinity for fashion and business to boot. Jeanine left the NYC fashion world for San Francisco and her own business. Range focuses on trend forecasting and daily inspiration for the active, sport and lifestyle markets. It's a perfect fusion of her love for outdoors with a keen sense for bringing the creative eye to sports and active lifestyle marketing. I think what she's doing is super rad and I hope you do too. Enjoy!

What's on your playlist right now?

I love gully rap music more than anything else in the world, I tend to stick to East Coast and Dirty South more than West Coast though. Sorry Pac.

  • Gucci Mane

  • Rick Ross

  • Waka Flocka

  • T.I.

  • Dipset

  • Weezy

  • Meek Mill

  • 2 Chainz

  • A$AP Rocky

  • Biggie

  • Big Pun

  • Three 6 Mafia

In addition to that, I've been pretty much been listening exclusively to records for the last few months, I have a pretty amazing collection of vinyl that I inherited from my parents that just found it's way out of storage and back into my life. It is an interesting mix of Motown, classic rock, movie soundtracks and instrumentals with a touch of '80s bangers. I would say my favorite of the bunch are:

  • Diana Ross

  • Marvin Gaye

  • Al Green

  • Stevie Wonder

  • Prince

  • David Bowie

  • Fleetwood Mac

  • Phil Collins

  • Hall & Oates

  • Neil Young

  • Tom Petty

  • Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd

  • Edith Piaf

Describe your style.

As I get older my style has changed dramatically. It also probably has something to do with the fact that I moved from NYC to California three years ago and have successfully shed most of my fashion-slave layers. If I had to try and nail it down I would describe it as "funky art-aunt goes to the mountain".

You know those ladies that are wearing something super swaggy, but it just looks like a sack? That is how I envision my future self.

I love tent dresses, tunics and rompers and I own more pairs of sport sandals, hiking boots and Birkentsocks than anyone you probably know in real life. I wear tons of performance apparel and natural fibers (like merino) because I am a huge nerd and I obsess over technical materials, plus I am usually outside either camping, hiking, running or getting ready for snow season, so I need clothing that functions and works with the body. I have not totally lost my taste for fashion though, so if I do buy a new piece, I try to make sure it is something timeless like Dries, or a simple basic from A.P.C. or Theory.

Who inspires you?

People that takes chances and strong, independent women. I grew up in a seriously hard-working household and I can only really relate to other people that have a similar work ethic. It is really a double-edge sword for me because I yearn for the freedom associated with being a dreamer, but my genetic makeup is firmly grounded in reality, so "taking a chance" and leaving my career to start my own business for example, wasn't something that came naturally (or easily) to me. I think that is probably why I spend so much time outside. Nature gives me the ability, both literally and figuratively, to get lost in the moment and experience guilt-less bliss. I truly admire the mothers of the world with full-time jobs that weren't willing to sacrifice their dreams of having children for a title and the entrepreneurs that have had the balls to carve out their own path or vision regardless of the outcome.

What are you reading?

Lately, I have been trying to do all my reading off-line, just to give my eyes a little rest from the glowing screen of my computer. I always read New York Times on Sundays with my fiance Cooper, it is a little bit of a tradition for us. We get a coffee and sit around the house passing the sections back and forth. There is something so nice about holding an actual, physical newspaper. Magazines that you will ALWAYS find on my coffee table are -> Kinfolk, Outside Magazine, Frame, Mark, The New Yorker, Sunset Magazine, The Surfers Journal and The Plant (Journal). My guilty pleasure is the Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin, I just can't get enough of it and I can always use a little escape from reality.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

Growing my business and taking on new challenges, wild adventures that involve tents, boards and bikes, and marrying my best friend in front of all the people that I love in the spring.

Thank you Jeanine! Find her at This is Range and JeaninePesce.com.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Simon Doonan Talks The Asylum & Bon Qui Qui

Last week, the inimitable Simon Doonan stopped by Barneys New York Seattle to talk shop and sign his new book, The AsylumA Collage of Couture Reminiscences...and Hysteria.

What a treat and a rarity to have Simon in our midst twice in one summer! I had the opportunity to talk with Simon at his book signing, and kept it short and sweet so as not take up too much time from other stylish fans in the building. We spent a few minutes on our shared love for Anjelah Johnson and Bon Qui Qui before diving head first into business.

Simon Doonan-The Asylum-Barneys New York

Simon Doonan-The Asylum-Barneys New York

I was so hyped he remembered who I was from the media breakfast earlier this summer, and he was just as charming, personal and hilarious as ever.

Simon is by far one of my favorite celebrities I've interviewed so far! Enjoy:

You guest-starred in Alexander Wang's spring '13 video trailer with Anjelah Johnson, who reprised her famous 'Bon Qui Qui' character role for the video. What was it like working with Bon Qui Qui?

Alexander and I have been pals since he started. When he was concepting the video, he sent me a link to her (Anjelah)'s work. I loved it. She's a real talent. Brilliant. Clever. Very impressive. She's very serious, but you have to be to be that creative. I'm unoffenable. When we met, she was already calling me "Osh Kosh b'Gosh, lookin' like a wallflower with that shirt." By the end of the day, she was imitating my accent really well!

(Simon also kept saying "SECURRRITY" in Bon Qui Qui voice. I couldn't stop giggling :))

I saw the press release but want to hear from your own words. What is The Asylum about?

It's my love letter to the fashion world!

I've had a very stimulating career in the industry, and a lot of memorable stories to tell. People love stories. It's very funny :)

Simon Doonan-The Asylum-Barneys New York

Simon Doonan-The Asylum-Barneys New York

You already know, Simon!

What are some of your favorite stories in the book?

  • The time I auditioned for Devil Wears Prada

  • The time the ceiling fell in at the Michael Kors show and Anna Wintour remained totally calm about it, and

  • The time Tom Ford gave me a wedgie.

Haha! Well there you have it, folks.

Check out Simon Doonan's The Asylum for your next fall read.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Seattle Works' Tara Smith Gets SWANKy

Fall brings a lot of fun reasons to dress up, and here in Seattle we have no shortage of fundraiser galas. One of my favorites is Seattle Works' SWANK, coming up on Saturday, October 12th. Seattle Works has worked tirelessly to foster a lifetime commitment to community involvement in Seattle's young adults through innovative volunteer activities and educational opportunities. I first learned about Seattle Works back in my chamber of commerce events director days, and these days the organization is led by Tara Smith. Tara and her board members have created a whole palette of different ways you can give back to your community - from board training, one-off or ongoing group and individual volunteer opportunities, and special community events. SWANK is the one time Seattle Works volunteers and fans can get fancy and raise money to keep these programs in business.

I asked Tara to share a little more about herself, life at the helm of Seattle Works and about SWANK. Read on & see details on SWANK below:

Seattle Works-Tara Smith

Seattle Works-Tara Smith

What's on your playlist right now?

This is a little embarrassing*, but I will confess to having spent the past few weeks totally rocking out to the new 103.7 radio station that replaced The Mountain. That crazy lady in her car at the stoplight belting out Leona Lewis? That might be me. *Don't be embarrassed. That new radio station is AWESOME.

Describe your style.

My everyday style is casual and approachable, but put together. I go for simple, classic looks and then be sure I’m incorporating in color or print to keep things interesting.

My style at Swank is very intentional. Being up on that stage and asking people to support us, I need to visually embody the Seattle Works brand: fresh, contemporary and vibrant. At the same time, asking people to provide their financial support is a serious business. I love the people who look fun and sexy at Swank! But that can’t be me. My look is about being professional and credible, without going a traditionally conservative route.

Seattle Works SWANK

Seattle Works SWANK

Who inspires you?

The people who volunteer with Seattle Works. I get the privilege of being in an environment where I’m inspired every single day. From board members who strategize on how to take our game to the next level to Project Coordinators and Team Captains out there making it easy for people to jump in and make a difference in our community, I see caring, smarts and passion in action on a continuous basis.

Seattle Works

Seattle Works

What are you reading?

I’m digging into a series of articles on board governance and adaptive leadership. They’re relevant to the leadership training courses Seattle Works offers, and they also are helping me think about how to be a better partner to our board of directors in my professional role and how I can be a better board member in my personal life as a volunteer.

Seattle Works-Tara Smith

Seattle Works-Tara Smith

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

Next year is Seattle Works 25th Anniversary! I’m excited for the opportunity this milestone brings to gather and share stories, and to reconnect with our volunteers and supporters from the past quarter century.

Seattle Works Swank 2013

Seattle Works Swank 2013

Thank you Tara! Find out more about Tara at SeattleWorks.org. Details and tickets for SWANK 2013 here.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Piper Gore, Fashion Designer

Ah, the beauty of social media. Last week, a mutual friend (Hey Kristy!) introduced Piper Gore and I over email. I took one look at her site and fell in love with her line. As I evolve my style and put some hard definition on it, I can't deny that comfort is near the top of my list when I'm looking for the next addition to my closet. It's inherently West Coast, I think, and that's why Piper's collection struck me so. I asked if she'd bring Fresh Jess & my readers into her world for a little bit, and once again it's such a beautiful treat to see what makes one's spirit tick.

Piper Gore

Piper Gore

Also, FRENCHIE!

What's on your playlist right now?

I'm all over the place with music - but it is almost always on. Sometimes I actually manage to get slightly annoyed when I have to turn it down for a conversation in the middle of a really good song, even though I can just press pause! I get really lost in my music so it is a rude awakening when I have to come back from it I suppose ;)

To name a few artists on my playlist right now:

  • Rolling Stones

  • Jimmy Cliff

  • AWOLNATION

  • MS MR

  • Eric Lindell

  • Luke Bryan

  • Kid Rock

  • The Dirty Gov'nahs

  • Etta James

  • Wyclef

  • Autre ne Veut

  • Sublime

  • Jay-Z

  • David Bowie

  • Aerosmith

  • Pixies

  • The Cure

  • Bill Withers

  • Truth & Salvage

  • Moby

  • Skid Row

  • ...and it goes on & on!

Piper Gore

Piper Gore

Describe your style.

Easy. Mellow. Pulled together but not too seriously.

Who inspires you?

My friends each in their own way. I'm a girl's girl and I am so lucky to have such an incredible and inspiring group of girls around me. Each is so amazing in their own right.

Piper Gore

Piper Gore

What are you reading?

About 10 books at the moment. I love to read but every once in awhile, I go through phases where there is so much on my mind that I can't finish reading books. I keep starting new ones. It's really annoying! I am reading:

Piper Gore

Piper Gore

What are you most excited about in the coming months? 

Everything - all the possibilities. I feel like my world has just opened up and the longer I hang in there, the more people I meet and the more opportunities come about. I have no idea what's coming down the pipeline but I have hopes for what lies ahead and I'm working very hard to make that my reality. You never know - which I suppose is why it is so damn exciting.

Thank you Piper! Find her at PiperGore.com.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Jasmin of Vintage Vandalizm

My next Ace is a fellow blogger who's inspired me with her laser-like focus on crafting a personal style that's all retro but decidedly refreshing and different. I write once a week for the Independent Fashion Bloggers and thus pay a lot of attention to the fashion blogging landscape, and I can say with 10000% confidence that Jasmin Rodriguez's Vintage Vandalizm is one-of-a-kind. I had the good fortune to meet Jasmin in person at IFBcon, where I spotted her while speaking on a panel, and had to run up and tell her what a big fan I was of her blog. I was surprised by how humble and shy she was in real life! She's one of my favorite people to see whenever I'm in NYC.

She's got legions of fans all over the world just like me - and also critics, haters and copycats. Some try to emulate, others straight up duplicate - but none of Jasmin's imitators come close to her clear and unabashed love for rockabilly and other fine vintage eras. She lives and breathes the lifestyle as much as the modern world will allow. This is why she's no trendy throwback (what up Katy Perry) - Vintage Vandalizm is the real rockabilly deal. Her commitment to this life & style is what makes her one of my favorite bloggers on the interwebz.

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

What's on your playlist right now?

  • Lots of Lana Del Rey

  • Pervov Stelar

  • The Great Gatsby Soundtrack

  • The Weeknd

  • Niki and the Dove

  • Frank Sinatra

  • Ella Fitzgerald

  • and some rockabilly compilations.

Describe your style.

I'd like to think of it as a marriage of the timeless beauty of vintage & the gritty rawness of my vandalized city, NYC.

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

Who inspires you?

I am deeply inspired by the classic hollywood actress' of the 40s, 50s, and 60s like:

  • Debra Paget

  • Ivonne De Carlo

  • Diana Dors

  • Grace Kelly

  • Eartha Kitt

  • and of course Elizabeth Taylor.

What are you reading?

Right now I am enjoying listening to many inspiring TED Talks like my recent favorite by Shawn Achor, who says that we have to reverse our perspectives on success. He says that we are taught that "We must be successful to be happy;" but in fact..the happier and more positive we are, the more successful we will be :).

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

I am working on a few projects to be finished by next year but you will have to stay tuned to find out ;). I am also excited to be attending Lingerie Fashion week and NY fashion week before my big move to Vegas. I am pursuing my dreams and though it is quite scary to leave a place I called home for 26 years, I am ready for the big change ahead of me.

Thank you!

Find Jasmin at VintageVandalizm.com.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Emma McIlroy of Wildfang

These Aces interviews are every bit as fun for me as I hope they are for you. The essence of them lie in the fact that I want to share these incredible people I've come across with you - so how could it not be a blast every time? Emma McIlroy of Wildfang (German for 'tomboy') closed out the Create + Cultivate Portland conference I attended last month with a keynote talk outlining how she and her team have created a whole community for the tomboy lifestyle on the site and beyond. I was riveted.

It seemed like there was a site or blog for literally every style known to mind, yet I couldn't think of anything quite like Wildfang. I was fascinated by how Emma, co-founder Julia & team took the marketing, branding & hustling skills they'd honed at Nike and spun it into an e-commerce site that attracted a healthy first round of funding and thousands of loyalists in a matter of months. All of this amazingness just three hours south in Portland! I asked Emma to share a little about herself and about Wildfang with all of you fine Fresh Jess readers. Enjoy!

Tell us about Wildfang.

We think tomboy is much more than just a style. It’s also an attitude. It’s about being confident, strong and paving your own way. While also being cheeky and knowing how to have fun. We don’t think our girl has ever been allowed to be herself and be her best. She's been restricted and held back for years. She hasn’t had access to the clothes and tools and sources of inspiration to allow her to be who she wants to be. That’s where Wildfang comes in.

We will free her. We will fuel her.

This isn't a business for Jules and I - it's a labor of love. We are the consumer. We share her frustrations. We wanted to do it, so that it was done right.

What inspired you to create Wildfang?

I remember the first time we had the idea. We were in the men’s department at a well-known store and I was looking at a men’s graphic tee which had a barely clad Kate Moss on the front. Jules was staring at a men’s blazer with patches on the elbows. I remember her looking at me and saying “Why don’t they make this shit for us?” And I couldn't answer her. We thought about it a lot, did a ton of consumer research and fast forward three years later - here we are. Launching Wildfang.

What are you most proud of about Wildfang so far?

I'm proud of our team. In five months we've built an online store, an offline store, a product collection and attracted the attention of thousands of young women as well as some awesome media. It's been amazing to watch girls get excited about our brand and feel like they belong at Wildfang. The support we've received has been overwhelming.

What's on your playlist right now?

  • Ms Mr

  • Savages

  • The new David Bowie album

  • and honestly, there's probably some Rolling Stones on there too

Describe your style.

My style is a lot like what you'd expect if you let Patti Smith lose in Keith Richards wardrobe.

Who inspires you?

People who take risks and are laser focused on their consumer. They don't follow the status quo and they do what feels right. Richard Branson is a hero for me.

What are you reading?

I'm currently addicted to Orange is the New Black, but I think everyone is. I'm also reading Triumph of the City. Awesome book.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

I'm psyched about launching our Wildfang product collection. I'm so excited to see Wildfangs everywhere proudly rocking our gear.

Thanks Emma for the interview, and thank you Wildfang for being so fucking awesome!

Head over to the site and show 'em your Wildfang!

Aces Interview: Madeline Moy

Everyone I interview on Fresh Jess influences me in some way, doing inspiring things in their specific field of work and/or play. This week's Aces interview is someone I've followed on Twitter for many years but just recently have had the honor of knowing personally.

Madeline Moy and I did some project work together last year and I loved getting to know a fellow Filipina-American in the social media industry. I really admire commitment to her family while still doing great, fulfilling work and being active in the local social media community. She's also an adventurous cook who loves exploring ways to approach recipes a bit differently - she's the first Filipina I know to dive into healthy versions of classic recipes like adobo, with delicious success! You can follow her food adventures on Edible Joy.

Madeline Moy

Madeline Moy

What's on your playlist right now?

  • “Treasure” by Bruno Mars

  • “Mirror” Justin Timberlake

  • “White Walls” Macklemore

  • “Unaware” by Allen Stone

and lots of Postal Service and NKOTB since I just saw both acts in concert.

I’m an NPR nerd so I listen to a lot of podcasts of programs like “Fresh Air,” “The Splendid Table,” “Selected Shorts” and “Snap Judgment.”

Describe your style.

I like classic shapes, clean lines and bright pops of color.

Madeline Moy

Madeline Moy

Who inspires you?

My husband, Baron, is a constant source of inspiration. He always puts family first, takes care of everyone around him and is incredibly patient. And he’s a great cook! I wish I could cook like him. I always need a recipe, but he can take whatever is in the fridge and make something amazing.

What are you reading?

I’m currently reading A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain. I love his writing because he has such a distinct voice and provides vivid and unique descriptions of the places he visits and the food he eats.

I remember watching Bourdain’s show of the same name on Food Network back in 2001. At the time, there was no one else on TV like him. It’s funny to read in the book how much he actually hated making the show. A running feature in the book is titled, “Reasons Why You Don’t Want to be on Television.” Bourdain turned into a great TV personality, but he was always an outstanding writer.

Madeline Moy

Madeline Moy

What are you most excited about in the coming months? 

I’m looking forward to the International Food Blogger Conference. I’m interested in taking my food writing in a different direction and hope to learn a lot and be inspired by the people I meet at this event.

Speaking of food, there are plenty of things in Seattle that I want to eat and drink in the near future. Among other things, I’d like to order oysters from the Narwhal food truck, eat at Skillet Ballard, and have a float at the new Rachel’s Ginger Beer in Pike Place Market.

We recently bought a new house so I am super excited about making the space ours. And our son is starting kindergarten this fall. The last several months have been an incredible period of growth and change for me, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Thank you!

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Miss Wu Fall '13 Premieres at Nordstrom (Interview w/Jason Wu)

Jason Wu's got a new collection exclusively for Nordstrom, and he spent some time with me yesterday to talk Miss Wu and answer a few lifestyle questions as well. But before we get into the interview, a little about what you'll find in various Nordstrom stores and online now. The Miss Wu collection is wrought with beautiful fabrics, bold colors (lots of fuchsia, chartreuse and cobalt blue), exclusive prints (confetti dot, Baroque lace, Ginko leaf and Jason's signature stripe) and impeccable detailing. Ranging from $195 - $995, Miss Wu is a clear nod to the 1960s, with a whimsical nod to the 1970s. There's a black feather evening dress, shearling moto-inspired jacket and red wool military coat that I know will do well here in the Pacific Northwest! 

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

How did you get into fashion design?

I was 9 when I lived in Canada, and I would read my mom's fashion magazines. There was always a lot of inspiration in them. It wasn't one 'Eureka!' moment; I just realized fashion could be a career and it always felt right.

You spent some time growing up in Vancouver. What are your favorite memories about the area?

Vancouver is beautiful. It's so serene. I live in New York City now, and it's so bustling. Vancouver is so peaceful and quiet in comparison. It was a great place to grow up. The food is very good; there's a lot of really good Chinese food as there's a large Chinese population there. I discovered fashion, art, design, and myself there. My mom would take me to antique shows, which we don't have in Taiwan. I got my first sewing machine and learned how to sew in Vancouver. My appreciation for beautiful things definitely grew there.

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

Who inspires you?

My mother has always inspired me. The women I dress as well. Women in general, really! You can see in my work - it's all a celebration of the feminine form and femininity. It's the string that connects the aesthetic from collection to collection.

Tell me about Miss Wu.

The collection really came about organically; it's an extension of my design DNA. It's very reminiscent of my early work. While the Jason Wu collection is heading more femme fatale, Miss Wu is very feminine. Prints, srtipes, full skirt, feathers. I'm very inspired by the women of the '60s: Penelope Tree, Anna Karina. When Nordstrom approached me about an exclusive collection, it was the perfect opportunity to take affinity to that era and those beautiful things.

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

What do you like to do to take a break?

I like to go to the spa; my favorite in New York is Mandarin Oriental. It's very peaceful, quiet and nice. I'm not hard to please! I love going to dinner with my friends. I do that 3-4 times a week. They're my friends I went to high school and college with. In many ways, I designed the Miss Wu collection with my friends. We all grew up together and somehow all ended up in New York. I guess you could say Miss Wu was designed for the girls around me.

Is that you behind your social media?

Yes! I don't do my Facebook page, but it's pretty clear that's run by my team. I send my own tweets and Instagrams. I just did my first Instagram video here today for Miss Wu (watch it here.) It's really fun. I was never good at keeping a diary or taking photos. I'm a very spontaneous person. It's nice to be able to share something in a few seconds. It's like a peek into my world; no filter, very organic. I think it's important to be authentic in that way.

Thank you!

Shop Miss Wu at Nordstrom here.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Jen Nausin

What better way to pick up the Aces interview series than with someone as badass as Jen Nausin?

Jen is a marketing consultant and founder of Detaale, Marketing and Events. I met her (in real life as we'd been following each other on Twitter) last year at a startup networking event here in Seattle. I'd just left my job and was trying to navigate the waters of working for myself as a consultant and writer. She was CMO at a lifestyle site. Fast forward a year later and here we are on regular walking dates to discuss those consultant waters, and how they balance with living a healthy, fit and balanced life.

For me, Jen is someone who just gets it. We can talk about be(com)ing business owners, obsessing over and changing every aspect of our respective businesses while sharing ideas, connections and resources. We can also talk about balancing all of that with boundaries for family time, workouts and eating well. I've learned a lot in the short time I've known Jen and am grateful for her unrelenting commitment to doing amazing things.

Jen-Nausin

Jen-Nausin

What's on your playlist right now?

During summer I love having all of the windows open and listening to classic rock favorites like Van Morrison or even some good old 90's jam band stuff by Dave Matthews. If I had to pick just one newer song to listen to on repeat it would be Move by Mausi, it is so great for jamming out on a sunny Seattle summer day.

Describe your style.

I grew up in Chicago and Southern California so my style is definitely influenced by the relaxed style of the beach and the classic styles of the city. I'm into styles that are comfortable, timeless and fun. My wardrobe staples include: lots of premium denim, tons of cozy and colorful scarves, a never ending rotation of white tops, t-shirts and button downs, and heaping handfuls of oversized, handmade or eclectic jewelry. In my most perfect world I would wear the best shoes ever created, Sanuk yoga mat flip flops, every single day.

Who inspires you?

In addition to my family, who inspire me to keep it real at home, I am very inspired by others who are living authentically. A great example of authenticity and vulnerability I've been really aware of recently is artists. I've been thinking so much about how personal art and creativity can be, and how brave, vulnerable and authentic artists are when they share their creative expression with the public. I admire their work, their creativity, their honesty, their vulnerability, and their bravery so so much.

What are you reading?

Well, call me old fashioned, but I’m a huge fan of the library. Currently I’m borrowing: anything and everything by Brene Brown, Disciplined Dreaming by Josh Linkner, Tribes by Seth Godin, and a bunch of poetry books by Mary Oliver. Habit is next on my to-read list (can’t wait to get my hands on it!) and I just was gifted UX for Lean Startups by Laura Klein, which I’m also loving it so far.

What are you most excited about in the coming months? 

Of course, I'm most excited about my marketing consultancy, Detaale. It's a newer project for me and I'm so excited to be helping organizations of all sizes do great things in marketing. I'm also really excited about an event I'm facilitating in August called Urban Campfire. It's an event focused on bringing passionate, career-minded women together for a day of fun, friends, and even a Flashdance dance party, its going to be awesome.

On a more personal note, I'm enrolling in a couple of multi-media art classes and climbing classes this fall and can't wait for the challenge of mastering new physical and creative skills.

Thank you! Find Jen at Detaale.com, on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter at @Jen_Nausin and @Detaale.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Vogue's West Coast Editor, Lawren Howell

If I worked in the fashion industry, Lawren Howell would have my dream job. This San Francisco native spent some time studying art history in Paris and in the creative department at Kate Spade and Jack Spade before landing in the offices of Vogue. Oh yes, she worked as an assistant to editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour and executive fashion editor Phyllis Posnick before being promoted to West Coast editor for the publication in 2006. 

Lawren now manages all of Vogue's West Coast editorial shoots, as well as the annual Vogue CFDA Fashion Fund show and other Vogue sponsored charity fashion shows. She's in town today for the Nordstrom Designer Preview, and spent some time with me last night to answer a few of these questions. This is the first time Vogue and Nordstrom have partnered for Designer Preview, and speaking with Lawren got me that much more excited for tomorrow night's show. Get to know her, and follow us at #NordstromxVoguePromos on social media for behind the scenes shots and more from the show!

Image via Vogue

How did growing up in San Francisco inspire you to pursue a career in the creative and fashion industries?

San Francisco is such an international city. I had an eclectic upbringing and grew up with exposure to such rich culture. San Francisco has beautiful architecture and is such a creative place; there was always art shows to go to. I also grew up in a family of creatives; my sister is now an artist and my brother's in graphic design.

Is there a project you've worked on that's near and dear to your heart? Why?

The Vogue CFDA Fashion Fund is really cool and so much fun to work on. I've made so many friends and learned so much about the different designers that have been a part of it. The show features new, young designers (this year's finalists were just announced yesterday!) I style the show; we do all of it, from casting to hair and makeup, so the designers can breathe and be a part of the audience in their own show. It's fun to see how far they've come. The show first happened 8 years ago, in Pebble Beach with a partnership with Lexus. I've been involved for 6-7 years.

Image via Vogue

Describe your personal style.

There's definitely a 'menswear-y' vibe. I like simple things. Very all-American. I don't heavily accessorize. Less is more; not overdone. I think that's a very California, Northwest mindset. [true!] Not ostentatious. Understated.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

That's easy! Moving into a house in the next couple of months that we've been working on for the last year and a half. That'll be nice!

Thank you!

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Eddie Borgo via Nordstrom

Eddie Borgo recently launched his latest collection at Nordstrom with an appearance in their Downtown Seattle store. I love Borgo's aesthetic and style and was delighted to get some insight on the inner workings that eventually become fuel for his designs. Read on:

Who or what inspired you to be a jewelry designer?

I am specifically interested in the jewelry and adornment that we attribute to the different realms of NYC subculture; how and why a padlock around someone's neck can immediately establish their identity. My collection plays with the ideas we have of subculture, and then how those points of view trickle up into the luxury fashion market. My aesthetic has to do with this idea; it is high-end meets street.

What's your favorite piece you've designed so far?

Our cone bracelet; it has really become such an instantly recognizable piece for our brand - and also within the jewelry space today.

Who are some of your modern-day muses?

Our ad campaigns reflect who we see as modern-day muses. Each season, we photograph our friends as models. Past campaigns have included: Vanessa Traina (fall/winter 2009); Lauren Santo Domingo (spring/summer 2010); Kate Lanphear (f/w 2010); Giovanna Battaglia (s/s 2011);  Tabitha Simmons (f/w 2011); Cecilia Dean (s/s 2012); Alison Mosshart (f/w 2013); and Anja Rubik (s/s 2013.)

What's one of your favorite highlights in your career so far?

Winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, being awarded the CFDA/Swarovski Award for Accessory Design, and being awarded the Tiffany & Co. Development Grant - all within months of each other.

What's on your music playlist right now?

  • David Bowie

  • Iggy Pop

  • Lou Reed

  • The Rolling Stone

  • Patti Smith

  • The Kills

Describe your personal style.

Uniformed.

What are you reading?

I always seem to be reading a few books simultaneously. I recently started I Dreamed I was a Very Clean Tramp by Richard Hell and it's great!

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

We always have special projects in the works at the studio - I continue to be excited and inspired by the innovate, progressive development processes our team consistently realizes.

My concentration for the time being is spearheading our fine jewelry division.

Thank you! All images and video courtesy of Nordstrom, via The Thread blog.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Ray Page

The Aces interview series are a little look into the lifestyle of people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world.

Today, please meet Ray Page!

In the social media & tech scene here in Seattle, there are people who are at every meetup, Ignite talk, SMC event and more. Then there are others you never see, because their job has them being a full-time badass here, there and around the country.

Ray Page is the latter. Like so many others, I met him on Twitter and then in real life over happy hour with our dear friend Carrie. All I remember was laughing as hard as I've ever laughed before at the most random jokes the three of us were telling each other. Getting to know Ray since then has shown me he is every bit as creative, curious and passionate as he is hilarious. Anyone that knows Ray knows that he's incredibly fucking good at what he does (he's executive creative director of POSSIBLE's Seattle office.) I am personally grateful to Ray for believing in my future. He was one of the most instrumental figures in helping me find the confidence to pursue my dreams. Read on to see what inspires him:

What's on your playlist right now?

  • Del the Funky Homosapien

  • Kitten

  • The National

  • Pavarotti

  • Biggie Smalls

  • Nas

  • Daft Punk

  • Wu-Tang

  • Rufus Wainwright

  • Dinosaur Jr

  • The Cure

  • & The Smiths.

At any given time, these get me through the week. However, when I need to crank out a presentation deck or ideate around a concept, it’s continuous hip hop every single time.

Describe your style.

Understated, with clean lines. Simple, with mostly solids. I’m a sucker for details, so moods of norway, scotch & soda and nau are my sweet spots. I will never wear pants that resemble salt water taffy. Men, please stop that.

Who inspires you?

I have many, but they have shared traits.

I’m inspired by individuals who fearlessly pursue their passion.

The extremists. The makers. The ones who live without balance. The ones who go against the grain without any other objective except to be the best at what they do. The ones who are motivated only by their internal dialog and not by financial gain, awards or recognition.

Great dads inspire me. The ones who blossomed as people because of their kids. Those that get giddy recounting weekend stories with their children. Yeah, those guys.

What are you reading?

I mostly stick to industry publications; Monocle, Contagious, IDEA, CommArts and various websites. I’m currently reading Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff, where he introduces the phenomenon of presentism. He shares thoughts around how the “future” we used to talk about pre-Y2K is happening now. And, frankly, how we’re not hard-wired to deal with living in the present. It impacts global economics, social economics and everything in between.

The next book in the cue is Finding Ultra by Rich Roll. He’s the epitome of one of the inspirational types described above. An extremist, who in 5 years went from an overweight middle aged man, to one of Men’s Health Magazine’s top 25 most fit men in the world.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

My 6 year old daughter choses not to pick a favorite of anything. She loves too many things. So, I’ll take her lead and mention all the things I’m excited about in the coming months.

Summer in Seattle. Zanny. The final episodes of Breaking Bad. Decatur. My daughter’s dance recital. Home renovations. raygr. Continued badassery the creative department produces. Dinner with friends. The Perfect Bite. Tennis lessons / tournaments.

Thank you!

Read all of my  Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Jaclyn Johnson

The Aces interview series are a little look into the lifestyle of people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world.

Today, please meet Jaclyn Johnson!

L.A. is home to most of my favorite fashion bloggers. One of those is Jaclyn, whose Some Notes on Napkins blog I've been following for a couple of years now. The graphic design in her posts drew me into the blog, so it was no surprise to find out she'd founded a creative agency, There is No Subject. The hustlers who use their blog as the gateway to pursue their dreams are the best kinds of inspiration to have. Read on for what's lighting up Jaclyn's life right now:

What's on your playlist right now?

The new Jai Paul album is amazing. I also love Night Time Sound Desire, RHYE and Lorde.

Describe your style.

Consistently changing. Some days I feel like a good drop crotch and others a baby doll dress. I tend to stick to earth tones and simple silhouettes. so ever changing simplicity, maybe?

Who inspires you?

People who are loyal. There are very few people in this life that can pick you up when you are down and generally be on your team. I am lucky to be surrounded by amazing hard-working women and business owners that all lift each other. To name names, Alisa Leonard (French BK), Jasmine Takanikos (Jas Consulting Group), Geri Hirsch (leaftv), Jeanine Pesce (We Are Range) - they all have businesses but are creative geniuses as well and they consistently inspire me.)

What are you reading?

I just finished Contagious by Jonah Berger which was a great read. I also finished Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In between flights to NYC-- a must for any lady getting her hustle on.

What are you most excited about in the coming months? 

Create + Cultivate, my company's creative event series is hitting the road! We are hosting our first one in Portland on July 27th and another one in Brooklyn in late August. I am so excited for Portland as we are working with super dope brands like WildFang, Betsy and Iya and more! Plus the space we are hosting it in is like a creative playground.

Thank you!

Find Jaclyn at Some Notes on Napkins (her blog), There is No Subject (her agency) and Create + Cultivate (the event.)

Read all of my Aces interviews here.