Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Return to Personal Blogging

I miss blogging. I miss sharing my favorite things and documenting my thoughts and the changes in my personal style.

The landscape and community has changed so much since Erin and I started in 2008. Everyone wants to get famous. Bloggers will write anything for free swag and push affiliate links. Not everyone is this way, but it seems to be the majority. When we started, fashion bloggers were just ladies who were super passionate and enthusiastic about clothes, design and shopping. I don't have anything against people who monetizing blogging. In fact, I commend them for turning their passion into a business, but the community feels different, less sincere and more competitive than supportive.

In the last few years, I had to force myself to focus on just a couple tasks verses several, and it's one of the major reasons why I fell off as a blogger. Fashion blogging from Chicago didn't feel the same as blogging from New York, and adjusting to a new city took more time than I expected. Now three and a half years later, I really feel like a part of the scene here and I've got steady work as a DJ and freelance writer/ad strategist. It's also possible that I just aged out.

I spent a couple months last summer thinking about how I would relaunch Sugar Rock Catwalk, not so much to the world, but to myself and friends. Right as I was getting ready to start actively blogging and writing again, I had the opportunity to be the editor of Racked Chicago. It was a whirlwind experience, and while it was great, it also took everything I had. It was even starting to affect my DJ work. Racked Chicago has since closed as Racked focuses on Racked National. Since then I've continued DJing and I've taken on a variety of freelance projects, everything from a restaurant opening to rebranding a mass womenswear brand. Now, I have a little time to catch my breath and perhaps blog again. I have been built some new passions as of late and look forward to once again sharing with others.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Transatlantic Move: From New York to London

In case you've wondering where I've been, I sort of fell off the continent and moved countries. I live in London now and the process to get here has been a bit of a whirlwind. I packed up my life and sending the boxes in two different directions. I labelled everything with post-its and it was either red for my parents basement in Canada, yellow to give away or blue for England. After everything was color coded it just became a matter of putting the wheels in motion and saying goodbye.

It was good for me to go through all my belongings because I accumulated a lot over the years and I purged like I've never purged before. I have some sort of weird attachment to things that I own that leads me to be a bit of a hoarder. Every time I tried to purge my closet, I'd end up going to a clothing swap and bringing home just as much as I gave away. Even still, every item I've purchased is associated with memories of things that have happened while wearing an item, the story of how I came to own it or some other sentimental nonsense. I knew I wasn't strong enough to do it alone so I called in reinforcements and had a friend ask me simple questions like, "Erin, do you really need 14 pairs of jeans?" or "How many coats do you think that you can fit in a shared closet?" and I cut back big time. The things that I kept with me are the things I need or love best. The things that I put into storage, I was hopeful l would still love one day when I'm ready to stop exploring.

In the end, I sent a third of my belongings to London since we didn't have any idea where we were going to live or how much space we would have. We just knew that we wouldn't have the beautiful Victorian floor through that we found in Ditmas Park and would have to downsize. I carried a couple suitcases that I lived out of for the first month armed with my best monochromatic casual wear, a few of my more precious clothing items (uh hello, Proenza Schouler skirt), basic toiletries and a few of my favourite spices for cooking. It's funny the things you find important enough to hand carry at the end of the day.

I suppose eight years ago, I went through the same motions of starting again in a new city when I moved to New York City, thankfully this time around I am not alone. Thankfully I now can make this leap holding my husband's hand and know that we face all of the adventures, hardships and learning together. I miss my friends, my apartment and life in Brooklyn, but I am ready to build a new life here. I hit the ground running hard and we found a flat in West London and quickly ran to Ikea to build the obnoxious but affordable furniture to make our home feel like a home.

There are a lot of similarities between England and America, and at times things are so similar that I forget I am in another country. At times, I find myself getting frustrated that things are not the same. I guess it is naive of me to think they would be. Yes, they speak English here in London but it is a different sort of animal. I emphasise all of the wrong syllables, I pronounce letters that shouldn't be pronounced and I feel helpless when it comes to the terminology used to describe even the simplest things. Sometimes I just have to admit that I'm not sure how to do or say certain things and try to explain my way around it.

Things that I did so easily in the past are not done in the same manner so everything takes me a little bit longer to figure out. The first challenge we faced was opening a bank account, where bank after bank they asked for a utility bill or bank statement. Well, you can't exactly provide one when you are new to a country and living in corporate housing can you? When we pointed that out, we were politely told to come back when we have a utility bill. The circles of conversation were slightly maddening. We tried another bank that told us they had such an influx of students, they could meet with us only after another week. Finally in desperation when we went to HSBC, they obliged and used our US mailing address as a workaround to set up our accounts.

I ran into the same situation when I was trying to get a doctor's appointment, where without proof of address, it became impossible. When I finally used a couple pieces of mail to see the doctor, I had to have a nurses appointment to see the doctor and finally a letter in the mail to see the specialist I was hoping to see. By the time the letter from the doctor was due to arrive, I had moved homes and had to try to collect it from the corporate housing office.

Now that I have a bank account and an address, I know life will only get easier, but I only recently started looking in the right direction when crossing the road without having a fear of death. I listen attentively to the subway announcements trying to learn the correct pronunciations of stations. Some of the stations induce giggles (uhmm...Cockfosters?). I laugh a little when I see signs for a "striped zebra crossing", which is a speed bump that people can walk across. I hate to admit it, but I started saying "quite" a little too often for my liking. I've learned that Foxtons (a real estate broker) is the devil, but in the end we used them too. Perhaps I will get better at living life abroad but for now every day is a still a new challenge. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ways to Wear: Print Shirt & Leather

Fashion blogging has changed a lot over the last few years. When Erin and I started this project six years ago, the blogging community was smaller and really supportive. We met so many amazing people who shared in a genuine passion for design and clothes. Then it evolved into a parade of new, new, new and a rat race to see who could get the most swag. This and a few other factors lead to some burnout for me.

While reflecting upon what I loved most about the early days of blogging, I was reminded that it wasn't always about the specific items featured, but rather the way they were styled. I want to return to that. To bring this idea to life, I will make each of my outfit posts going forward about the 2+ ways I styled an article of clothing.

Here's an old RACHEL Rachel Roy top that I wear often. The print is made up of an assortment of colors, so it matches many pieces in my closet - white skirt, blue jeans, etc. With the recent chill, I've started to bust out the leather, which I paired with this top for warmth.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Halloween Idea: Romy and Michele's High School Reunion

Naven "Jagger Dress" ($30, was $110)

I came across this shiny pink number while browsing some of the sale merch at Revolve, and this dress gave me a costume idea for Halloween - Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.

The color and shine of the Naven dress is pretty close to Michele's; it would just need a little marabou feather trim which is pretty easy to find.

I did a cursory search for a Romy dress and found this tacky number on eBay. The color is a little off, and the fit is tighter, but with a little silver fabric and crafting, it could work. If it were me, I would make the Star Trek-like arrow first. Then cut a strip for the bottom and two strips to fill in the space between the straps.

eBay dress $9.11

If anyone is seriously considering this costume idea, let me know. I can continue the search for a Romy dress, and I would love to see pictures!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

NYC Sample Sales: August 24-31, 2014

Who: BARNEYS Warehouse Sale
What: Up to 60% off on men's and women's clothing and accessories. This sale usually gets cheaper as it progresses.
When: August 21-September 1, 2014. Thurs Aug 21-Fri Aug 22 8am-9pm, Sat Aug 23-Sun Aug 31 10am-8pm, Mon Sept 1 10am-7pm
Where: The Metropolitan Pavilion, 110 West 19 Street, (b/n 6th & 7th Avenues) Ground Floor

Who: YOUNG & NG Sample Sale
What: Cuffs, rings and headpieces and more in brushed metals. Antique gold cuffs, gunmetal hair combs, crowns, and rose gold lace rings. Prices start as low as $30. Prices 70-80% off retail.
When: August 18-22 & 25-29, 2014. Mon-Fri 11am-6pm
Where: MYN Collective, 39 West 14 Street (b/n 5th & 6th Avenues), Suite 408

Who: Cosabella
What: Up to 70% off lingerie, ready to wear, and swimwear. Prices will range from $13 to $80. Visa, MC, and Amex only.
When: August 24-26, 2014. Sun 11am-6pm, Mon-Tues 11am-7pm.
Where: Cosabella NY Flagship Store, 220 Lafayette St (b/n Spring and Kenmare St), 212-405-1190.

Who: ABC Carpet + Home Bronx Warehouse Sale
What: Up to 80% off furniture and home goods. The Edge Rustic Dining Table is $1,599 (was $2995), the French Quarter Dining Chair is $159 (was $395), White Metal Gilded Console is $999 (was $1,295). Rugs are one size, one price, starting at $225.
When: August 21-September 14, 2014. Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 11am-6pm.
Where: 1055 Bronx River Ave (b/n Bruckner Blvd and Watson Ave), 718-842-8772

Upcoming Sales:
Who: Tamara Mellon
What: Up to 80% off on RTW, Shoes and Handbags. Former chief creative officer and co-founder of Jimmy Choo, launched her own lifestyle brand last year. Snag a cashmere sweater for $75 (was $395), DIGLAM Handbag in Printed Hair Calf $100 (was $1095) and
Heaven Patent Leather shoes for $50 (was $495)
When: September 4-7, 2014. Thurs-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-4pm
Where: 260 5th Ave (b/n 28th & 29th St), 212-725-5400

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Now Wearing...

Should accident-prone women wear white dresses? After much deliberating, I decided to buy this dress by one of my favorite Australian labels, Cameo.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sample Sales NYC: August 18-24, 2014

What: Up to 70% off men's & women's on separates, dresses, outerwear, leather and more. Sizes 00 to 12.
When: August 18-21, 2014. Mon-Thurs 11am-7pm
Where: Clothingline, 261 W 36 Street (b/n 7th & 8th Avenues), 2nd Floor, 212.947.8748

Who: YOUNG & NG Sample Sale
What: Cuffs, rings and headpieces and more in brushed metals. Antique gold cuffs, gunmetal hair combs, crowns, and rose gold lace rings. Prices start as low as $30. Prices 70-80% off retail.
When: August 18-22 & 25-29, 2014. Mon-Fri 11am-6pm
Where: MYN Collective, 39 West 14 Street (b/n 5th & 6th Avenues), Suite 408
Who: Judi Rosen Sample Sale
What: Up to 70% off
When: August 19-22, 2014. Tues-Fri
Where: International Playground, 13 Stanton St, 212-228-2323

Who: LAUREN MERKIN Sample Sale
What: Handbags, clutches, and accessories at up to 70% off retail. Also, bargain boxes starting at $20.
When: August 19-21, 2014. Tues-Thurs 11am-7pm
Where: 231 West 29 Street (b/n 7th & 8th Avenues), Suite 201, 212.239.2459
Who: OMEN PR Showroom Sale
What: Up to 75% off on clothing from Religion, GOLA Shoes, Harare, Linie, Martin Keehn, Heidi Gardner, Wyatt Orr), Black'd and Mandarin & General.
When: August 20-21, 2014. Wed-Thurs 11am-7pm
Where: 265 Canal Street (b/n Lafayette & Broadway), Suite 301

Who: BEN-AMUN sample sale
What: Luxury designer jewelry at wholesale prices and below, with tax included. Classics to the newest trends.
When: August 20-21, 2014. Wed-Thurs 12pm-6pm
Where: 246 West 38 Street (b/n 7th & 8th Avenues) Suite 12A, 212.944.6480

Who: DEUX LUX Sample Sale
What: Signature hobos, messengers, wallets, totes and more at up to 70% off.
When: August 21, 2014. Thurs 11am-7pm
Where: 37 West 20 Street (b/n 5th & 6th Avenues), 212.620.0801

Who: BARNEYS Warehouse Sale
What: Up to 60% off on men's and women's clothing and accessories. This sale usually gets cheaper as it progresses.
When: August 21-September 1, 2014. Thurs Aug 21-Fri Aug 22 8am-9pm, Sat Aug 23-Sun Aug 31 10am-8pm, Mon Sept 1 10am-7pm
Where: The Metropolitan Pavilion, 110 West 19 Street, (b/n 6th & 7th Avenues) Ground Floor

What: Prices up to 75% off on past season loungewear and sleepwear for women, Men & Kid. Starting at $15.
When: August 21-24, 2014. Th-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 12pm-6pm
Where: 252 Elizabeth Street (b/n Houston & Prince Streets), 212.233.4323

Who: Quinn
What: Up to 80% off contemporary lifestyle brand. Luxe tees and shorts $40. Bottoms and button downs $60. Cashmere tees and silk dresses $75. Cashmere knitwear $100. Cash and credit cards accepted.
When: August 9-23, 2014. Tues-Sat 12pm-8pm. Closed Sun-Mon
Where: 181 Orchard Street (b/n Stanton & Houston St), 646.669.9348
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