Mourning Paul Walker.

I am supremely sad about Paul Walker's untimely passing this past Saturday. Mourning celebrities is such a weird, crazy, surreal thing. Like there's a hierarchy somewhere of how important grief should be that corresponds with how well you know a person. I didn't know Paul Walker. From what I do know, he was a truly exemplary person - someone who put as much time and effort into giving back to the world (through his non-profit, Reach Out Worldwide) and raising his family as he did to his craft and work. It's clear from observing the statements his current (Fast & Furious) and past castmates have made about him was that he was a positive force that touched lives well beyond theirs and his own. 'Angel' is a word I'm seeing most commonly describing him.

Paul Walker being awesome on behalf of Reach Out Worldwide

The biggest reason his death has touched me so much is that my mom. LOVES. Paul Walker. We've taken her to see every one of the Fast & Furious movies in the theatre (preferably IMAX :)) on opening weekend. Brian O'Conner was far & away her favorite part of the cast. It's crazy to me how the movies actually keep getting better with each subsequent one. I guess that's the mark of a truly successful franchise. They know exactly what genre and audience they resonate with, and they've grown that important connection over time. The cast will never be uttered in contention for an Oscar, but they've probably touched far more lives than any Oscar-winning film could - my wonderful mother included.

Moms & I at Fast Five opening weekend

I've always been fascinated by how Walker and the Fast & Furious franchise brought the street racing subculture to the mainstream. What we see on the silver screen is real life for so many people out there. So much so that the cast (having worked together for over 13 years on these movies) have become a family unto themselves. Brian O'Conner became Paul Walker, kinda like Jack Sparrow and Johnny Depp. Paul didn't seem to mind that one bit. (source: USA Today)

This weekend I was reminded of how varying our connections to celebrities are. To other humans in general, in fact. When news broke of his awful car crash with friend and business partner Roger Rodas, I went through stages of disbelief ("Please be a hoax. Please don't be real."), worry ("My mom. How's she gonna take this news?") and shock ("I don't want to believe this is real.") Something that surprised me was how rashly I reacted to the rest of my peers on social media. As usual, there were people quick to make jokes or make light of the whole situation. "It's just Paul Walker, that lame dude from those lame car movies," they insinuated. "Who cares?" others mused. "What about the thousands of other people who've died today?" Still others argued. I did something I told myself I'd never do on social media - I reacted to all that negativity.

I was surrounded by my boyfriend, bulldog, my bestie and another one of my bests that night. It didn't take long for me to realize I shouldn't have reacted to the haters and naysayers, but even then I didn't really emote much. I got home yesterday and saw this photo of Tyrese, and that's when the tears started to flow.

Original photo by Marcus Mulick

The moral of the story here is to never, ever be afraid to own how you feel. I'm surprised by the depth and range of emotions I've felt this weekend over the passing of someone I've never met, but not at all regretful about it. I see a lot of intrinsic values and traits Paul Walker possessed that I really resonate with, and I know that's why I'm feeling the way I am. I know my mom is grieving too, and how she feels is obviously of utmost importance to me. I'm grateful we had the time we did with him on this planet, and know the Universe has gained an amazing soul who did great things for others while he could.

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.

Beauty & the Brand: Beyonce

If there is one thing I learned from Beyonce's GQ article, it's that she is incredibly good at documenting every move she makes. Through her massive personal archive of photo and video - some of which is featured on her Tumblr and new BeyHive Blog - it's clear this is a woman who took her career by the reins. She's got full control of her brand and likeness, and she manages to use that to bring her fans in for a closer look. I love to cover her on Fresh Jess because of her unparalleled hustle and laser-like focus on her brand. She knows she's sacrificed a lot in order to realize her dreams. Such an amazing role model for women everywhere.

Beyonce-Inauguration-7.jpg
Beyonce-Inauguration-9.jpg

Whoever her photographer is, Beyonce and the camera make a great team. She really knows how to capture many an emotion in an image. Case in point: this photo of Bey and Jay-Z at the Inauguration is the picture of hip-hop royalty. 

p.s. My thoughts on the Inauguration lip-synch scandal are this: musicians pre-record vocals over the track all the time, especially for outdoor, public events. You can read and believe what you want to, but at the end of the day, she sang the shh out of The Star-Spangled Banner in the bitter DC cold. She may or may not have had some help (from her own voice) but she did her job.

All photos via Beyonce's Tumblr

Viva Beyonce!

I know you've probably seen these all over the place, but I don't care. Queen Bey is on a media blitz and I am soaking up every minute of it! Catch her in the pages of GQ, singing at the Presidential Inauguration and the Super Bowl, with Destiny's Child promoting their new album, and on HBO for her "Life is but a Dream" documentary. And that's just in the next month!

Surround yourself with people who will lift you higher. I may not know you personally, Beyonce, but your work ethic and grounded humility inspire me to no end. 10,000 hours for real.

"I worked so hard during my childhood to meet this goal: By the time I was 30 years old, I could do what I want," she says. "I've reached that. I feel very fortunate to be in that position. But I've sacrificed a lot of things, and I've worked harder than probably anyone I know, at least in the music industry. So I just have to remind myself that I deserve it."

Daniel Radcliffe Interviews Helena Bonham Carter

I am a huge Harry Potter fan girl. There is nothing quite like geeking out on all things HP with other equally crazy fans. I love it. My favorite character in the books and films (besides Harry of course) is Bellatrix LeStrange, the most diabolical witch on the block. In the films, Bellatrix comes to life thanks to Helena Bonham Carter, who is so absolutely perfect that it's hard to imagine anyone else playing the part.

Interview Magazine recently featured Helena Bonham Carter, in an interview by none other than Daniel Radcliffe himself. Color me the happiest HP fan in the world! They talk about all things Helena, from being raised in an exemplary family to being typecast to working with your love & the father of your children. I've posted a few of my favorite excerpts on self-expression and style below, but you can peep the whole interview over at Interview.

Photo: Peter Lindbergh for Interview Magazine

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On comparing yourself to others

BONHAM CARTER: Everybody has an inferiority complex when they step into a room. But then when you have children and you get older, it doesn't really matter. When I was young I had so many inferiority complexes. I had an inferiority complex because I didn't go to university. I had an inferiority complex because I didn't train. Then it gets tiring. And you do get bored of it.

RADCLIFFE: Right. And so that boredom is actually what ultimately leads you to go, "Oh, fuck it."

BONHAM CARTER: "Fuck it" is my guiding philosophy.

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Self-perception

RADCLIFFE: I think people see your career as almost having two halves, one where you played this kind of ingénue. And then there's a perception that around the time you met Tim [Burton], you started getting weird. But I know you'd been weird long before that.

BONHAM CARTER: I was weird right from the start. It's just that you can't ever expect people to get you. And I do think that really did mess with my head, being well-known young, when you really don't know who you are. This is how ridiculous I was: I'd sometimes go look at a written profile of me and see how I was described and say, "Oh, is that who I am?" You can't ever put your self-definition in the hands of somebody who meets you for 15 minutes.

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"Do you have to be the witch or the queen tomorrow?" I thought, Well, that's pretty much my life.

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Personal style

RADCLIFFE: Would you describe yourself as being into fashion? I know you have your style—self-expression, really.

BONHAM CARTER: All I'm into is dressing up. I love dressing up. It's like what we do for our job, get paid to dress up. So I carry on doing it in life, and I do put on a bit of clothing, and the clothing changes how I feel.

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On being typecast

RADCLIFFE: For me, it seems to be about getting audiences accustomed to seeing me in different things. There is never going to be one part that's going to totally separate me from 10 years in a part that I loved, you know? And I would never want to be totally separated from it.

BONHAM CARTER: I think in time, you will, darling.

RADCLIFFE: Really?

BONHAM CARTER: Honestly, people have such short memories. Absolutely.

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!

Rebecca Minkoff F/W '12 Runway Show

I had the privilege of catching the Rebecca Minkoff fall/winter '12 runway show thanks to Mollie of MollieInSeattle. Theophilus London performed briefly before the models took the stage in beautiful leather, metallic, sherbet tones and geometric prints. I'm not sure there was a bag in this collection worthy of taking the Morning After's place as "It Bag", but there were a few cute accessories in the mix.

Check out some of my favorite looks from the show, then my video of the final walk (all photos via Fashionista.com):

Erin Fetherston F/W '12 Presentation at Milk Studios

I had the pleasure of attending Erin Fetherston's F/W 2012 presentation at Milk Studios last night. Ms. Fetherston's collection is packed with tons of chiffon, berry tones, brocade and lovely, flattering lines. These are perfect for every occasion from a night out on the town to a fancy gala. The presentation attracted a beautiful crowd of celebrities, industry professionals and bloggers alike.

Enjoy the pics!

Fresh Faves: Gabe de Dios, Stylist

Sometimes the Emerald City is so small, you meet people and you can't remember how you met or who introduced you. All I know is that as long as I've known Gabe de Dios, I knew he was going to be a star. Back in the day, Gabe was a mainstay in the Seattle dance community. He would eventually follow his passion for fashion to L.A., where he now lives, works and plays as one of the most unique stylists in the game.

Gabe de Dios is a wardrobe stylist who has worked with such celebrity clients as Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Colton Haynes and Gilles Marini.

Nicki! in the "Dance/@$$" video

Gilles Marini

Katy Perry

Perez Hilton

A lover of fashion, music, food and dance, he also designs for his own t-shirt line called J'TEES ME and is the founder of his dance crewHaus of Shablamcakes. You can find his perspectives over at 102.7 KIIS FM's The Stitch, where he contributes fashion posts regularly.

I asked Gabe for a few of his favorite outfits and to answer a couple of questions from my Seattle Style interview, then went over to his official Facebook page and pulled a few (okay a lot) of my favorite photos of his work. Check them out!

Comme des Garcons army trench coat, Rojas tank, Alexander Wang pants, Kris van Assche shoes & Jeremy Scott x Linda Farrow sunnies

How would you describe your style? 

hyper, sensational & kawaii AKA J'CRAY

Comme des Garcons lace shirt, Burberry pleated skirt, Dr. Martens boots, Jeremy Scott x Linda Farrow TV sunnies, gifted vintage Rubik's Cube purse (best birthday gift ever!) & Paige Bae Jewelry necklace

What are your favorite shops?

LA: Joyrich, Wasteland and Freak City

Seattle: Urbanity, Goods, Zebraclub, Ian and Red Light

Online: Ssense, Luisa Via Roma, Fred Flare

Gerlan Jeans pink monster tee, vintage Bone Thugs & Harmony camouflage jacket, Onch Movement custom teddy bear neckace, LA RAP making loot pants, Dr. Martens boots, Paola Loves to Shop Mickey x Chanel ring, SEE Eyewear glasses, Jeremy Scott x Swatch watch

What's your favorite thing about Seattle?

The friendly, genuinely nice and chill vibe - the gorgeous scenery (there ain't no mountains or snow in L.A.!) I miss Seattle!!

Find Gabe on Twitter, FacebookYouTube & The Stitch

Rumi of FashionToast!

All images and so many more photos can be found on Gabe's Facebook page.

Is Everyone Hanging Out w/o Me? - Mindy Kaling

What makes a good friend? Someone who gifts you Mindy Kaling's book and makes you Persian tea all in the same night, just because. I love Anisa Leyla (check out her new blog!)

But enough about my awesome friends. Mindy Kaling's own besties are just one of the many pieces of her life that she divulges in "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns)" While I love reading books by CEOs, entrepreneurs and others who inspire me, Mindy is the first one whose upbringing actually sounds like my own! Friendly and hilarious but never part of the popular crowd, Mindy counts her traditional, loving Indian family and close friends among her biggest influences and supporters.

Reading Mindy's book was such a breath of fresh air. It says a lot that Mindy is as down-to-earth now as she was in her flourishing college days. She shares her experiences and observations in major parts of her life - childhood, college, New York, The Office and of course her BlackBerry photo album - in such a light and funny way, you can't help but love it as you read along. I know this word is overused, but the girl keeps it "real." I mean, one of her chapters is titled "Someone please explain one-night stands to me" because she can't understand how you can trust someone with your body so casually. RIGHT?!?

Anywho, AlixRose and I had the pleasure of snapping this quick and blurry pic with her after her appearance in Seattle for Rainn Wilson & Friends benefit show for The Mona Foundation. She was so sweet and didn't look at me weird when I told her I was the one begging to style her on Twitter :)

If you're looking for a fun holiday read, I highly suggest picking this up!

Kelly Cutrone's Normal Gets You Nowhere

After reading People's Revolution founder Kelly Cutrone's "If You Have to Cry, Go Outside," I was hooked and inspired by Kelly's no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is style. I'd been anticipating her next book ever since, and was delighted I only had to wait for about a year for another read full of Kelly's words of wisdom.

In "Normal Gets You Nowhere," Kelly takes readers beyond the PR world and shares her thoughts on much deeper, personal topics. Sex, religion, family, friendships, holidays, relationships - you name it, Kelly shares her opinion on it in this book. All of this translates into real, honest advice for ladies like me. Kelly really strives to instill positive, confident thinking for women who strive for personal and professional success. If anything, she encourages us to break the mold of conventional beliefs and intelligently decide what's important in our lives.

Just like with the many power girls I like to cover on Fresh Jess, I draw inspiration from Kelly's fearlessness, confidence and will. She tells her story from a truly honest vantage point of wanting to help women succeed in business and life. This book must be like mentoring the masses to her! I appreciated learning many of her stalwart beliefs, shaped through years of experiences. I hesitate to use the words 'success' and 'failure' when summing up her storytelling style, because every experience she's had has taught her valuable lessons about who she is.

I only wish us ladies had more power figures like Kelly to learn from!

Check out her trailer below (she's unorthodox in every way, shape and thought - even in marketing her book!)

Fresh Reads: Getting Super Rich

I am overwhelmed. I am overstimulated. As much as I love social media, I'm feeling like my attention span has shrunk to record lows and my mind is now spinning like a top that's borderline falling. I do a lot, but I sometimes feel like my mind is in a fog and I'm just going through motions...not really connected to what it is I'm doing.

I can't blame it all on social media. This has been a rough year for me - lots of good and lots of challenges. But whether it's stress, anxiety, overdigitalization - whatever the case, I've been feeling like I need some kind of tether back to myself.

Sound crazy? Maybe. But after seeing Russell Simmons at the Seattle Public Library last week for a talk on his new book, Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All, I couldn't wait to dive into this book. And I was right. I feel like I've finally found what I needed to whip myself back into shape (figuratively.) Reading this book was exactly what I needed.

Woohoo!

First of all, I should note that this isn't about how to make tons of money. In fact, Mr. Simmons (or Uncle Rush as he is affectionately nicknamed) stresses repeatedly that he's not giving out advice for pursuing material wealth. It's about investing in yourself by giving to others and the world around you. Uncle Rush isn't a religious man in the sense that he identifies with one religion, but his intense passion for yoga and enlightenment play a huge part in his life and subsequently in this book. He speaks a lot about his experiences - from drugs and parties to Def Jam to Kimora and their family to Phat Farm to philanthropy to the many people he's made connections with over time. All of these people and experiences help him convey the principles he teaches in Super Rich; among them:

  • sharing your talents and gifts with the world wholeheartedly (and how that attracts opportunity and success)
  • operating from stillness
  • focusing on happiness from the actions of your hard work versus the fruits of your labor
  • staying inspired
  • loving unconditionally
  • being conscious and compassionate

I read this book like a textbook, jotting down countless notes and quotes chapter by chapter. Everything spoke so powerfully to me. Without giving the book away too much, here are some gems I took away from Uncle Rush:

Be present in the moment. Be committed.

I am the master of having 85 million tabs open in my browser in addition to TweetDeck, checking my phone, listening to music on my headphones while trying to pay attention to what's going on around me in real life. Environment for being productive? Nope. I need to focus on one thing at a time. I'll get so much more done that way.

Only do shit you believe in. Period.

Being active in social media has made me a target for anyone and everyone who wants to have an in at my firm, or "partner" on or promote events, products, you name it. I've become much more selective in the projects I take on, the blog pitches I pay attention to (if at all), the events I attend and most importantly, the people I keep around me. If it's not something I feel passionate about, I can't be involved. Sorry!

Hang with people who lift you up. Separate from people who bring you down.

I absolutely love to give. I love helping others succeed and I'm all about bringing my team up as I succeed as well. I am fortunate to know so many amazing people who are a lot like me in this sense. I just have to remember to always emanate compassion and giving. I know a lot of people with a lot of negative energy as well :/

Slow down.

Uncle Rush calls it "operating from stillness." Whether it's meditation, yoga, listening to your favorite song, going on a run or walk, whatever - clearing your mind of all the noise will help you get so much more done with much sharper focus. Ugh. If there's anything I've been craving more, it's this. It's nothing earth-shattering but something I really needed to read and instill back into my life. Thank you Russell Simmons.

I'm not perfect. I never will be. I have a long way to go in being anywhere as awesome as Russell Simmons, but I'm grateful he's shared some of his insights with the world. I truly needed it. I highly recommend you take the time to read Super Rich too!

Fresh Faves: Marion Cotillard

I'm embarrassed that the first time I've ever seen Marion Cotillard act is in Public Enemies as Billie Frechette to Johnny Depp's John Dillinger. Better late than never, right? I don't watch a lot of films :) She's my latest girl crush!

Marion is one of the most celebrated French actresses of all time. She won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Edith Piaf in "La Vie En Rose" and is continuing to rack up accolades all around the world. You may have seen her in Big Fish, Taxi and A Good Year in addition to many French films.

I love her style. She was my favorite part of "Nine" :)

Fresh Faves: Nicki Minaj

img via   HoneyMag.com

img via HoneyMag.com

I am lovin Nicki Minaj right now!

A few weeks ago I was perusing Necole Bitchie's blog reading up on celebrity gossip when I noticed Nicki in almost every other post. 'Who is this chick?' I thought to myself. Sure enough, after reading the blog I saw her everywhere I turned and in every video I saw.

Back in the day I LOVED Foxy Brown, Lil Kim and Trina. I feel like it's been forever since a lady rapper has dominated the overwhelmingly male hip-hop scene and it's cool to see Nicki taking charge so quickly. The girl is supremely talented (watch the BET Cypher vid below), she can sing and rap (writes her own stuff), she isn't overly raunchy and she's evolving her larger-than-life persona fast. She recently signed to Lil Wayne's Young Money crew and can be found on tracks with Drake, Gucci Mane & Weezy himself.

The Jamaica Queens, NY native is African, Indo-Asian & Trinidadian. Like Beyonce and her Sasha Fierce, Nicki's got three personas that describe her style: Nicki the Harajuku Barbie (girly, cartoonish), Nicki the Ninja (lyrical assassin) and Nicki the Boss (taking over the game).