Go Places By Yourself (& More Lessons Learned from Create + Cultivate PDX)

Two weeks ago I rolled down to Portland for Create + Cultivate. As a regular attendee of fashion, tech, and blogger conferences, C+C was such a breath of fresh air from what I'd gotten used to. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to last all day (starting at 9:00a.m. and going well past 10:00p.m.) but I truly enjoyed and savored every moment. It's days like these where I find myself learning so much - not just about new things, but about myself. Little shifts in perspective, if you will. I left C+C with a lot to ponder. Here's a snippet of lessons learned in my reflections (along with my photo diary):

The perfect setting on a perfect day

Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland

Go places by yourself.

Like a lot of events, I chose to attend this one alone. It used to be scary (sometimes it still is), but I've always found that I try harder to start conversations and meet other people than when I have a networking buddy. Don't get me wrong - it's always nice to have a friend and familiar face with you, and a lot of people just don't go to things unless they have a +1. I got in the habit of going to events alone back when I'd attend them as part of my Chamber of Commerce job. I've always looked at it as 'part of the job.' Going places alone gets you out of your comfort zone and puts you in an environment that's ripe with new ideas and people. Try it sometime, whether it's an event you've always wanted to attend like I did, or just a new coffee shop or park. Try having a meal or going to a movie by yourself. 

I couldn't fit into this vintage skirt last year so I thought it merited a gratuitous selfie. 

Zara tank & heels; vintage skirt & bag; Nike FuelBand + various vintage bracelets; wooden polka-dot ring gifted from Anisa in Africa

Fresh Jess Create + Cultivate Portland
Fresh Jess Create + Cultivate Portland

Alright. There was one familiar face. Thanks Jaclyn for a fabulous day!

Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland

Get outside of your own bubble.

When you go places alone, you are bound to get out of your own bubble. I have never considered myself a "creative" type, perhaps because I had a pre-conceived notion that 'creatives' had to be, look and act a certain way. If you would've told me I'd be right at home and really (REALLY) enjoying getting my hands dirty in a crafty way, I would've asked you if you maybe saw someone else who looked like me. Yet here I was, thoroughly enjoying making flower crowns with Riley of Erba Floral Studio; constructing my own earrings with Betsy + Iya and mixing the perfect summer farm-to-glass cocktail with Rachel of Art in the Age

Our team even won Best Drink (a Thai-inspired, bell pepper rinsed sage spirit concoction) and I won Best Cocktail Name (for our other drink, the Blackberry Hussy!)

Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland

Makin' earrings with Betsy + Iya

Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland

Tahitian princess vibes with my DIY flower crown taught by Erba Floral Studio

Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland

Talk to everyone.

This is one thing I continue to work on. It's one thing to work up the courage to go to an event like this alone. It's a whole 'nother thing to come completely out of your shell. I still get shy, but do my best to force the fear away and just strike up some conversation - with my table mates, sponsors, speakers, vendors, etc. I like to look at it as getting my part out of the investment - I took the time, energy and money to be here, so I better make the most out of it!

Dang Jess look at all these new people to talk to!

Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland

Katie and I caught intensely focusing on our photo art. We were talking, promise.

Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland

Everyone is inspiring.

The beauty of trying to talk to everyone is that each person presents an opportunity for you to be inspired. About humanity. About challenging yourself to do better. About your passions. About life. Some people can be like inspiration espresso shots, jolting you into a new frame of mind. For Create + Cultivate, the No Subject L.A. team brought in a few female powerhouses to do just that. How to look at things differently. 

I loved hearing from everyone, but Jeanine Pesce of Range and the ladies Emma and Tara of Wildfang especially struck me. Jeanine's perspective on trend forecasting and personal branding stems from a background I feel is very similar to mine - heavy in fashion and marketing, but with a yearning to bring more of her real passions (sports and the outdoors) into her career. Emma's tenacity, wit and fire has helped make her e-commerce site, Wildfang, a true community for tomboy lifestyle. She not only filled a business niche that's hugely missed by the rest of the industry, but she's managed to make thousands of girls feel like they have a team that's always behind them. 

Clockwise from top left: Jeanine Pesce of Range and Jasmine Takanikos; Melissa & Jessica of Stay Forever Photography; Rachel of Art in the Age; Emma and Tara of Wildfang.

Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland

Liz, founder of Sseko Designs, has a moving story of how she's helping women in Uganda attend college through her products. Everything on the right came home with me :)

Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland

Be a sponge.

I stole this from Nike's list of Maxims - look them up because they're solid statements to live by and have stuck with me long after my time working there. Anywho, absorb everything. Remember how the colors, smells, vibes, and smiles make you feel. Take those knowledge and creative bombs that were dropped on you all day and give yourself the time and space to truly reflect on them. This is what I told myself as C+C was winding down. All in all, a fun day that will leave its mark on me long after those sensory memories fade.

Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland
Create + Cultivate Portland

Special thanks to the No Subject team for a great day!

IFB Links a la Mode 5/24/12 - edited by Fresh Jess

I edit the Independent Fashion Bloggers' Links a la Mode once a month (every 4th week.) If you're an IFB member, Links a la Mode is a great way to be featured in the massive community. Each week, you can submit your best blog post for consideration in LALM. We (the editors) then read each submission and select 20 for that week's roundup. I'll be writing another post soon that goes more into detail in what I specifically look for when I'm going through submissions. If you're not an IFB member, take a look at some of my favorite fashion blog posts from the last month :)

DIY Days of Summer

Edited by: Jess of Fresh Jess

The bloggers are taking it to the crafts these days! What better way to get your wardrobe ready for summer than breathing new life into what you’ve got? This week’s Links a la Mode is chock full of quick & easy DIY projects for everything from crystallized shoes and Miu Miu-inspired clutches to top buns and accessories laced with neon. If getting crafty’s not on your to-do list this week, don’t fret. We’ve also got thoughtful posts on personal style, dressing for summer events, supporting local designers and blogger besties. These posts are getting better and better every week and it was hard to choose just 20 of them. Keep ‘em coming!


Spring Sale at Shopbop: Magda Berliner, Weitzman, Rachel Roy, Badgley Mischka, Raquel Allegra, Garde Paris, Rebecca Taylor,Oliver Theyskens & Sonia Rykiel

If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine

Lucky FABB: Conference Day Recap

After a jam-packed Sunday of networking, mimosas & sun, I was eagerly anticipating Lucky FABB conference day. Though the skies were grey for most of the conference, the beachside venue made for a perfect day full of awesome photo opps in the midst of learning from some inspiring speakers.

I was really impressed with the diversity in talent, industry and experience that Lucky brought together for this conference. I was actually drawn more to the tech mavens like Brit Morin, Randi Zuckerberg and Soleil Moon Frye. It was also super cool to learn about the great things Jessica Alba is doing with The Honest Company; Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant's various ventures; and Elizabeth Banks' lifestyle website. All of the speakers and panelists had such unique insight from brand, personality and blogger experience that I left with a ton of wisdom and to-do list items.

If you'd like to take a look at my notes (they're messy!), check them out on my Evernote.

The view from the Annenburg Community Beach House. A perfect place for a conference!

Credentials in hand. Ready to roll!

Conversation wtih Zac Posen

Stay True to Your Voice

Sophia Rossi, HelloGiggles.com / Kristin Ess, The Beauty Department / Jane Marie, The Hairpin / Bri Emery, DesignLoveFest / Brit Morin, HelloBrit.com

Just one of the many beautiful installs in The House of Zappos

A Conversation with Jessica Alba & Christopher Gavigan of The Honest Company

What Hollywood Can Teach Fashion

Christin Trogan, Funny or Die / Will Gluck, Film Director, Screenwriter & Producer (Easy A) / Ashley Madekwe, Actress & Blogger, Ring My Bell / Hillary Kerr, WhoWhatWear / Jeannie Mai, television host & digital correspondent, NBC Fashion Star

A Conversation with Mad Men's Janie Bryant & Kiernan Shipka

My outfit via Value Village Fashion Ambassador: thrifted yellow wool blazer / Banana Republic silk sleeveless top / H&M high-waisted skirt / With Deena & Ozzy nude booties

How I Became An Entrepreneur

Soleil Moon Frye / Alli Webb, DryBar / Wende Zomnir, Urban Decay / Jenni Radosevich, I Spy DIY / Kate Sommerville, Kate Sommerville Skincare / E.J. Johnston, co-creator, NBC Fashion Star

How Brands Work with Blogs

Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI / Quinn Donnelly, Benefit Cosmetics / Geri Hirsch, Because I'm Addicted / Gabrielle de Papp, Neiman Marcus / Aimee Song, Song of Style

A Conversation with Elizabeth Banks

A Conversation with Randi Zuckerberg (My absolute favorite part of the day!)

After all of these fabulous panels and fun times in the sponsor gifting suites, it was time for the closing  party. I got to say thank you to Lucky's editor-in-chief,

Brandon Holley


After the party, we were sent home with LeSportsac duffle bags FILLED with countless beauty, skincare, fashion & fitness goodies. This is the most serious swag bag I've ever seen in my entire life. So much amazing stuff:

Lucky FABB was without question my favorite conference to attend. Lucky took such great care of us for the short time we were together. I made countless connections with brands, other industry professionals and fellow bloggers. I'm really looking forward to the next!

Fresh Jess & AlixRose Hangout on Air with Google+ (updated)

UPDATED 5/2/12:

They say you should try one new thing every day. Last night, I did two things I've never done before: a live DIY demonstration, and hosted a Google+ Hangout on Air

When Google asked  AlixRose and I to host a Hangout on Air, I jumped at the chance but was still a bit nervous. I don't do much video, but have always wanted to incorporate more into my blog posts. Hosting this Hangout on Air made it much more approachable to me. We asked a few of our friends to join us in a DIY Hangout Circle, then planned to broadcast at 7:00p.m. last night. Half an hour flew by, with two quick & easy DIY projects inspired by one of Alix's recent blog posts mixed in with some conversation on summer trends and our friends' DIY experience.

Most people have a Google+ profile but haven't done much with it since signing up. I'm one of those people! After using G+ (and Hangouts especially), I've found it's a great way to keep in touch with groups of people and the general public as a whole. For my blog, it's an easy way to share my posts and host small video chats with friends and readers.

Jen Joyce says that the Uber community managers in each city use it for their weekly meetings, and another friend, Carrie, is excited to use it to keep in touch with all of us (we've got one girlfriend in Vegas, New York and Nairobi, Kenya!)

Visit my Google+ page and add me to a circle! Alix and I had such a fun time with Hangouts and are definitely open to doing another one again in the future.

Thanks Google for inviting us to do this; to Sara for letting us use SPUN Sustainable Collective as our space to Hangout, and to our participants: AlysonCarrieEmilyJenJillian & Steve!