♥ February Wrap-Up: Fashionable Favorites ♥

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I decided to take a small hiatus from blogging this past week to focus on job-searching, job-doing (I am employed part-time by a startup, after all), strategizing, exploring, and socializing. Alas, I end the shortest month of the year on a restful note. I may feel restless, but I am pleased to say I am at peace in LA with good fortune, familial connections, and of course, friends. 
With all of the travel going on at the beginning of this month, I found it hard to stay emotionally and fashionably grounded at points...the weather was changing before my eyes, forcing me to adapt my wardrobe and my mindset to new places. I may have missed Mardi Gras in NOLA (a "one day" type of dream) but these pieces reference the allure underneath all the beads....a vintage slip, a rich velvet duster jacket and some fabulously gaudy heels. 
Velvet Cardigan (also here): Topshop
Belt: J. Crew
Shoes: Seychelles
Being back in LA means LOTS more going out than I was doing in St Louis. I found this dress from Australian vendor Princess Polly on sale. This is called the "Assassin" dress by Mink Pink
 These adorable strawberry scissors matched my strawberry-printed bed covers. 
I nabbed this rose green tea on sale from Whole Foods in Beverly Hills right before V-Day. Adorable, delicious, and nutritious.
 xo  SFB

⋈ Time(less) Travel ⋈

Thursday, February 19, 2015

 Sometimes I don’t know how to feel about February. I’m not going to digress about V-Day, Black History Month, winter, or the fact that February is exactly 4 weeks..but I will say time flies. I am SO happy to be in LA. I’m not fully settled in, but with lots of interviews/job hunting going on, I made sure to stock up on LA-appropriate vintage pieces from St Louis before embarking on my journey. LA requires a weather-happy wardrobe adjustment from my  #darkwhimsical winter attire I embraced while at college in CT and living in St Louis to a sunnier ambience.
I certainly was thinking "vintage" with this look...but these pants are also "timeless." I found these babies at my favorite STL vintage boutique Parsimonia; they were dated with a 1970s time stamp and were sold on the rack as bell-bottoms. Thanks to in-house atelier Stephanie, I got them altered to fit me perfectly and to channel more of a 50s cigarette pant. I've only worn them once so far in LA, but in a few hours alone I got a TON of compliments. What can I say: the timeless aesthetic travels pretty well. ;)

Tank: Topshop
Loafers: Michael Kors
Earrings: Kate Spade 
xo  SFB

Russia Round Up # 2: The Bigger Picture of Russian Art

Monday, February 16, 2015

Russia sure has some bad PR. Aside from the current Ukraine crisis, one probably associates words like Putin, corruption, the USSR, maybe the tsars, with the country.  Largely political. While Russian politics is indeed fascinating, one of Russia’s most interesting fortés is its art.
This sign (taken on my commute right outside Winzavod Contemporary Art Centre in Moscow) says "Danger Zone" in Russian (ah-pahs-nai-ya tzoh-nah)...an accurate description for the current state of Russian art 

I am an art/design fanatic as much as I am a Russophile, so call me biased, but Russian art is hugely underrated. I think a lot of its discredited legacy stems from both Communism's "abolition of culture" (more a recreation than an abolition) and the fact that Communism barred the West from accessing this "culture" for decades. That, in addition to recent bad publicity, does not help Russian art from being heard at a whisper. While this is not entirely true (in the upcoming paragraphs I reference western media sources), Russia has huge potential as a visually aesthetic powerhouse. Remember when it was a literary powerhouse in the 19th century? That being said, much of this talent is getting displaced from its country of origin. That's right: Russian designers, artists, curators, and most importantly, MONEY, are moving away from Russia and creating art elsewhere. This "forced displacement" is very problematic for Russian creativity.  

Russia's flailing economy is to blame for much of this. The status of the devalued ruble touches all social strata of Russian society, including the uber-rich, many of whom are patrons, tastemakers, and creators of the arts. While the economic environment of the 1990s-2010s created a powerful class of oligarchs in Russia, Russian art, design, and artistic cultivation is peaking now. The questions for tomorrow remain: What will happen to Russian art? More concernedly, what will happen to Russia?  
International Fashion Weeks are a good measure of success-fashion is a leisure-driven industry as much as it is art. Russians were absent from Fashion Week under the USSR but have grown increasingly prominent both on- and off-the-runway since the 2000s. They don't call them flashy oligarchs for nothing: Russians love decadence, opulence, in this sense, the luxury associated with capitalism. This is indeed a paradox for Russian culture. Putin's current political agenda is hurting not only the government, the people, and the land, but also the creativity. And this is even problematic for the West: by severing political ties with Russia we're severing creative ties with Russian talent. And what does creative talent produce? Goods and capital....and a market. 

The USSR never eliminated Russian style; it certainly transformed it, but art did not disappear. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russians' embracement of luxury is stylized capitalism; modern Russian style harkens to tsarist aesthetics. Mixed with globalization and the Internet, Russia has become an aesthetic tastemaker. Creativity may exist independently of capitalism, but displacement is disruptive to the creative process. Like the rest of the art world, Russian art is currently immersed in capitalism; Putin's disruption of this paradigm will hurt the inner-workings of the capital-driven art market.
All of these images are from summer 2013 Russian media, back when Russian fashion was peaking & very intersectional/influential in global fashion media coverage

Fashion represents the underbelly of the leisure classes...it is as internationalized as it is market-driven. The hit to the Russian economy has hit the Russian fashion elite this year; even western media has taken some notice of this. Paris Fashion Week for the AW 2015 collection accurately gauged this. The New York Times questioned and identified the whereabouts of the usually Russian-heavy audience at the most recent Paris Fashion Week and Refinery 29 predicted the dismal future of Russian fashion. One may argue that fashion is marketing, not necessarily art. As much as fashion is an industry and a sub-genre of the overarching concept of art, it is creative. The fashion industry is founded by capitalism; does art transcend this? In today's world, NO. Capital is needed for more than just production; it is needed for time (leisure), for innovation, and for creativity. 

Dasha Zhukova, the talent behind Gorky Park's Garage Museum, was recently featured on the cover of the WSJ Style Magazine with Rem Koolhaus. The article highlighted Zhukova's energy, optimism, and vision in collaborating with Rem for building the museum. Not to mention how sophisticated, worldly, and international she is. What will happen to tastemakers like Zhukova? Russia's artistic future does not look so bright at the moment. 
Having interned at a contemporary art institution in Moscow (Winzavod, pictured above), this issue hits close to home. I don't doubt that Russians will cease to produce great art, but today's situation is very unique. In today's transient and globalized world, what will happen to Russian art if it is created, exported, and incubated outside of its borders? Does this redefine the images that the rest of the world associates with Russia? What about what Russia  conceives of its own art- is true Russian art merely propaganda and/or historical art? If art is borne outside of Russian borders from globalized concepts, is it truly Russian? Is Russian culture exempt from globalization? If everything is globalized, where does the Russian government, the art world, and public opinion draw the line? 
xo  SFB

♥ V-Day Inspiration ♥

Friday, February 13, 2015

As Will Ferell's character says in Elf, "Treat everyday like Christmas." Valentine's Day tends not to bring up the most universally positive reaction (cough, insert grumpy/sad single people here), but with its penchant for girly cuteness and an emphasis on love, "treat every day like Valentine's Day" might be a more appropriate mantra.  
♥ May you all have a lovely weekend 
These nails were inspired by a "cupcake" texture. Like these, I used up the last of my purple and pink pastel polishes by "dabbing."

Even if you don't have a Valentine, the holiday has the most adorable aesthetic. 
A V-Day-inspired ensemble

xo  SFB

☢ Road Trippin' ☢

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

After 27 hours of driving (over the course of 3 days, no less) I can officially say: Los Angeles, I’m yours. I am ecstatic to be home; nothing  beats the chill vibes, warm weather, year-round sunshine, and most importantly, MY FRIENDS. As for my job(s), I will save those updates for laterbut here are a few highlights from my cross-country travels.
this post, I planned my trip according to food. Quel surpris. I am happy to say each stop was satiating, salivating, and a nice break from the stress of driving 90 mph on the highway. Not to be a photo-repeater, but as you may recall from

First stop: Eagle Drive-In in Joplin, Missouri. 
The Eagle Drive-In was excellent and well-worth a stop in Joplin. For any Gone Girl fans, Joplin is the town over from Carthage, the town where the story was set. I went for the signature Eagle Burger. The meat was scrumptious, but best of all was the selection of sauces [top picks: Tzatziki, the Eagle Sauce (cayenne, mayonnaise, and ketchup), and the chimichurri].

We drove from Joplin to Oklahoma City, where we spent the night with a family friend (...and two bottles of wine at her request). Shockingly no hangover the next morning!
Amarillo, Texas was the next food stop. We stopped by Tyler's BBQ and did not leave disappointed. Everything is indeed bigger (and better) in Texas. Tyler's is relatively new, but did not disappoint. I went for the rib plate...mouthwatering and a great deal. 
I’m Texas Trill (not)
From Amarillo we drove to Alberquerque, where we stayed with a friend (and "fraternized" in downtown Alberquerque...aka we attended a party with her friends from a UNM frat)
  I tried some ceviche at Zacateca's, which was amazing...if only I could handle the heat. 
Classic ABQ

The last leg of our trip was the longest, from Albuquerque to Los Angeles, with a stop in Flagstaff, Arizona (actually an ADORABLE town) for lunch. We stopped at Diablo Burger, which had a cool Mark Ryden-esque outdoor dining backdrop and great burgers. The homestretch was easily around 12 hours, but with good music and an end dinner at In 'N Out, I can't complain.

xo  SFB