Trebird Skateboard Jewelry

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Photos by  Ryan Kell

Jewelry made out of a skateboard.

Sounds crazy, right?

Well, it definitely doesn’t sound crazy to Katie, owner of Trebird Skateboard Jewelry! I first became aware of Trebird a few years ago at a local artisan show, and from that point on I was completely hooked.  Her pieces are so unique and fun and add a little pop of color to any outfit, which is perfect for people like me who pretty much only wear black.

What I love so much about her jewelry is that you can really tell just how much time she spends on each one.  No two pieces are the same, and that adds an awesome variety to her brand that makes you want to keep collecting more and more.

I recently asked Katie a few questions about her business and life in Buffalo and found out that what started out as a broken skateboard slowly transformed into her passion.

In this shoot, I’m wearing the Skateboard Necklace, FRED Pendant, and Skateboard Earrings c/o Trebird. 

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When did you start your business?

Trebird started back in May of 2013. We’re actually coming up on our 5th anniversary!

Have you always known that jewelry design was something that you wanted to pursue?

I took a metalsmithing class back in college and I fell in love with it. After my course, I tried getting into it again but due to lack of resources I started branching out into different mediums. I worked with wire for a while and I hated everything I was making. I tried working with sewing thread, bead-working, recycled paper, you name it. It actually wasn’t until I worked with scrap paper that I realized I really like the idea of transforming something old into something new. Kyle (my boyfriend at the time, now husband) came home from the skate park one day with a broken skateboard. I saw all the colors in the board and I was so excited to tear it apart. Once I started cutting into it, I made my first pair of earrings. After that I started doing some research, got all the equipment I needed and set up my bench in the basement.

To go back to your question, I don’t think it’s something I’ve always known I wanted to do, but as I continue to make jewelry I find myself mildly obsessed with jewelry making of all forms. I’m currently trying to get back into metalsmithing again so there will hopefully be a new line from Trebird in the future.

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How did you come up with the name Trebird for your brand?

Trebird came from living on the corner of Tremont and Bird in Buffalo. We were all brainstorming for a name one day and my friend Ryan suggested Trebird. I’ve got a lot of Buffalove in my heart so I thought it was the perfect fit. All of my boards come from skaters that skate the Buffalo streets so I thought it’d be neat to name all of our pieces after Buffalo streets too. (Potomac Pendant, Hoyt Pendant Earrings, Tremont Necklace, etc.)

What’s funny is that combining the street names have kind of turned into an overall branding for most of what I do. Our shop, Fred Handmade Wares, was named pretty much the same way. Franklin + Edward = Fred. Ha.

What do you love about owning your own business?

I can honestly say, my absolutely favorite part is seeing people wear my jewelry. I still get a little goofy every time I see someone wearing a piece of mine. Even if I don’t know who they are, I usually run right up to them and say, “Hey! I made that! You look awesome!”

My customers are awesome and they really are amazing looking people in general. I’m not just saying that. Haha.

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What are the challenges that come with owning your own business?

There are so many challenges to owning your own business but I can definitely say it’s worth it. I’m on Etsy so keeping up with updating the shop is a monster of it’s own. It takes hours to get all the photos together, uploaded, tagged, etc.

It’s also difficult to find a lot of jewelry suppliers in the area. I try my hardest to make sure all of my hardware is sourced from local vendors. I’m lucky that Bead Gallery on Sheridan is so close, otherwise I’d have to search throughout Etsy for hours finding the right pieces.

It’s also difficult to stay up to date on style changes. I think my biggest hurdle was getting people to wear Trebird at first because they didn’t really understand the idea behind it. Now I have a solid customer base that loves repping Trebird and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I draw a lot of my inspiration from my own personal style, which can be good and bad. I’m a very neutral person and don’t have much “pizazz” to my outfits. I make a lot of jewelry based on if I would wear it. But the downfall to that is a lot of people may not like my style or what I would make based on that. Instead I’ll think of events that people could wear my jewelry to and I start to imagine the type of people that would go to those events. Concerts, a night on the town, to the beach, snowboarding, etc.

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What do you love most about Buffalo?

There’s so much to love about Buffalo it’s hard to narrow it down. I would have to say the food though. I’m a sucker for a good meal and a good drink. And there’s SO many amazing places around here. Essex St. Pub might be the one place my husband and I go a little too much. Their BBQ game is just so on point!

What’s currently on your playlist?

Oh man, it’s different every day! Lately I’ve been really into Tame Impala, Alabama Shakes, Shakey Graves, Real Estate, Mac Demarco, and a little Bruno Mars sprinkled into a mix on the daily.

What are your plans for the future of your business?

I feel like I’ll always keep making new pieces for Trebird but I’m really going to start getting into metalsmithing. Depending on how that goes, there could be mix of new pieces in the future!

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Bubbles & Berries Boudoir

What’s the first thing you think about when I say boudoir photography? Scary? That’s what I used to think…until now. Like a lot of women, I used to be intimidated by boudoir photography.  Generally speaking, stripping down to your underwear in front of a stranger sounds crazy, but then the stranger starts taking photos of you? Yikes.

Boudoir photography has come a LONG way, and believe me, there is nothing to be terrified of.  Recently I met with Robyn of Bubbles & Berries Boudoir to do a little session of my own and it was an amazing experience!  We met at her photography studio and from the moment I met her, she made me feel so relaxed and excited to start our session.  Robyn likes to do things a little different with her clients in order to make them feel as comfortable as possible with the process, as well as really get a feel for their personalities so that she can make the most of their photo session.  She asks her clients a number of questions ranging from what music they listen to, to what they like the most about their bodies.  This way, Robyn creates a super personal connection with her clients and can make sure that they have the best experience possible.  Also, one of the things that I loved most is that she has multiple sets in her studio, so you can switch up the vibes for all of your different sides!

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I sat down with Robyn and her new photographer addition Tessa before my session to ask them a few questions about Bubbles & Berries and about boudoir photography in general and here’s what they had to say!

How long have you been shooting boudoir professionally?

I started in 2010, so this is my seventh year doing it! I started because I read an article about it and I had no idea what it was, I read it in a professional photography magazine. I was working weddings with my husband already so I was already shooting professionally for a while.  So as soon as I read the article I was like, oh my gosh, I need to do this! Like, I didn’t even know it was a thing! So I just started to do my research and see what was out there, and there was nothing around here yet.  It was all pretty much on the West Coast or New York City.

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What drew you to boudoir? 

What it was mostly, at least from the article that I had read, was the takeaway that the women get from the experience.  So I knew right off the bat that it wasn’t so much about taking pretty pictures for people, it’s what they take away after their shoot for themselves.  That’s what made me want to try it and do it and really find a way for women to embody their inner sexy.  I feel like so many people shy away from that and they feel like they could never do that kind of thing and I was like “Yeah you can!”  That’s really what drove me to start this business.

Do you find that you get mostly brides as clients?

I think there’s a shift in the business.  Originally most of my clients were doing it as a groom’s gift or a significant other gift, but then I don’t know if it had to do something with my style, but there was a shift.  The clientele base started to become either new moms or people who just wanted to rekindle things in their relationship or just try something new.  Or people became more body aware and more comfortable with themselves to embrace that.  But now, with bringing Tessa on board, I want to shift it back into doing more brides as well, because I feel like I kind of got away from that.  I feel like it’s an ever-growing thing.

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What do you love most about what you do?

I love getting to meet the client for the first time, seeing how nervous they are, and just knowing that it’s gonna all be okay!  On top of that, when they leave here, seeing the excitement on their face and knowing that they had a really great time.  Obviously I love the positive feedback, but I just love to see how it makes them feel.  They are really doing it for themselves, and I don’t think people really get that until they do it and have that experience. Once the first few clicks of the camera are off, maybe five minutes in, they completely forget where they are and they are just enjoying themselves.  I love the transformation.

What is one of your most memorable experiences as a photographer?

The first one that comes to mind is that two years ago I did a Mother’s Day giveaway. The woman who won it, her baby was 9 months old when she came in, and all of our email conversations were pretty much her telling me that I had my work cut out for me and all that stuff. She came in and she was very nervous and felt very uncomfortable at first, but then she got her hair and makeup done and started getting into the session and after I had emailed her to tell her what I great time I had with her, and her response was basically that she got home and she cried because she didn’t feel like a frumpy new mom.  She couldn’t believe the amazing time she just had, and she hadn’t even seen her pictures yet! That was probably one of the most memorable experience that I’ve ever had.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

There’s a lot of photographers that I follow.  I like the Boudoir Divas, and it’s funny, I feel like my life path is sort of going in the direction that they went in. They are kind of branching off and doing something different and changing, so I find it interesting that I’m also in the changing process. I admire their business ethics and they model themselves and business women first and photographers second, which is extremely important to run a successful business. Also, my husband, honestly, and I know that sounds cheesy! He taught me everything I know from the beginning, I was not a photographer, I was a graphic designer. As Onion Studio was its own business and I was a graphic designer, I was looking for new jobs and I was like “Can I just work for us and make that happen?” So we both went full on board working for ourselves and he really inspired me to get educated and push myself and keep my eyes open.  He’s my biggest photography inspiration, and he’s a really hard worker!

Tessa:  One of the things also, as your inspiration, are your clients themselves. I think that’s an important part about what differentiates her boudoir business from others.  Getting to know the clients. So beforehand there’s a questionnaire, talking about style, music, what are your outfits going to be…kind of a dialogue to understand her client first, and then from there she adjusts the session to fit them.  It’s really unique, and a lot of inspiration comes from that. It’s a teamwork thing!

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What do you love most about living and having your business in Buffalo?

So I grew up in Akron, and my family was kind of timid into venturing out into the city. We really didn’t do much of that, so once I went to college and got a job out this way and started to explore, I was like “Why are they so worried about everything?” Now Buffalo is on the upswing of creativity and art and acceptance, it’s a really accepting place to live. I think that’s a major part of why I love this, especially with a business such as boudoir.  Also, the tight knit creative community that we have here. Even among photographers.

Tessa: Very friendly competition and wanting to bring everyone up instead of trying to stomp on someone or undercut them. Let’s make more business for everyone and help everybody out!

Do you have a favorite local bar or restaurant?

I like small local restaurants.  Mangia in Orchard Park has a good variety and a nice atmosphere and is family friendly.  I like any atmosphere that’s cool and relaxed. We aren’t really up to speed on the bar scene yet.  We are too focused on the business, I think.

What is currently on your playlist?

I like Portishead, also Bishop Briggs.  Beats Antique, one of their creators is a dancer, and she caters the music to dancers.  Since I’m a dancer I really appreciate this.  I’ve taken workshops with her and to see her journey and the process of everything is really cool.

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What are your plans for the future of your business?

A lot of growth! Bringing Tessa on this year has been huge. I’ve always been the one to hold myself accountable, and now I have someone else to help with that and to share and bounce off ideas and just have another person to have vision with. We also want to hit the bride scene hard this year and offer awesome opportunities for brides.  And also we want to launch couples shoots. I always want to learn and grow and offer new things to people. Also, we would like to have some events, possibly an open house or a bridal event.  We are offering hair and makeup as add-ons to photo shoots as well.  Lots of fun things!

What advice would you give to a woman who really wants to do pictures but is nervous about the process?

I would first ask why they want to do the pictures, because having the insight into the thought process of why they want the pictures is important. Are they doing it for someone else or are they doing it also because it’s pushing them out of their comfort zone? I would say that there’s really no reason not to do it! It’s a lot of fun and since we offer the opportunity for people to make it what they want, it’s not scary or intimidating. If they did want to do lingerie but they are nervous about it there are so many options out there for lingerie! We really try to get to know people first to make them comfortable.

Tessa: We always tell people to not underestimate themselves. We remind women of how beautiful they are and tell them that we are going to focus on something that they really like. So maybe they have a new bra that they brought that they really like.  We want them to be excited about the things that they are comfortable with.  We allow them to be themselves but also push them in a creative way, but only to the limit that they would choose.

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Thank you so much Robyn and Tessa for an amazing experience! I’m completely in love with these photos and you are both the sweetest! If you are looking for a local boudoir photographer, make sure to contact Robyn ASAP!

Once And For All Clothing

I started getting really interested in fashion four years ago when I started my blog and I bought into the trend-salad…I wanted EVERYTHING trendy and I wanted to wear all of it at once.  I look back on some of the photos and cringe because it sometimes looked like I was wearing a costume.  Now that I’m a little bit older and my style has evolved, I’m gravitating towards classic and well-made pieces.  Basic pieces that are elevated and expertly crafted.

I’ve been following Molly and her clothing brand Once And For All for a while now.  She’s a local designer who crafts stunning pieces that aren’t trendy, but completely classic and will last a lifetime.  Molly recently sent me the Nya II blouse and oh my god, can I just tell you how beautiful this top is!  I had to do this beautiful piece justice, and something about it totally inspired me to do an artistic photo shoot.  I collaborated with two of my best friends- Ryan Kell with his photography and Chuck Tingley with his artwork as the backdrop, and I think this turned out to be one of my favorite shoots to date!

I asked Molly a few questions about her business and her inspiration, and here’s what she had to say!

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When did you start your business?

I started by hand making and re-purposing vintage garments in 2011 under the name Once Vintage. I sold on consignment at local boutiques, at local markets and on Etsy. I switched gears and launched into manufactured wholesale product under the name Once And For All in 2014.

Have you always known that fashion design was something that you wanted to pursue?

I had always loved fashion since I was a kid but I did not think that it would not be the right fit for me as a person. I was more interested in art and business. My degrees are in Marketing and Graphic Design and I am an oil painter. I fully switched gears into fashion while I was working in the advertising field in New York where I fell in love with the fashion scene. In retrospect I had always had a preconceived notion that fashion was just fluff, but I came to realize that it really was art. I think that was the reason I opened up to the industry.

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How did you come up with the name Once And For All for your brand?

I was just looking for a segway name from Once Vintage, my previous business, that felt somehow related. I wasn’t sure where the businesses were going to go, or if I was going to keep doing both, so I wanted something to keep them together. I thought about using Once since it was the only word usable for the new concept and I thought about the phrase “Once And For All”. The name easily lent itself to a lifestyle brand, it sounded sure of itself, and it felt inclusive all of which fit my requirements. I then thought further about the connotations of the term “Once And For All” such as; an ending, a definitive decision, completion or something of conclusive in nature. This led me to think of the philosopher Seneca’s quote: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”. I am a Christian and my faith is very important to me, so it felt like there was an expression of my faith in that concept.

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What do you love about owning your own business?

I love the involvement in so many different areas. I am of a decidedly dual nature mixing the creative and business, so its vey fulfilling to utilize both sides. My day-to-day activities are varied and include: research and development, design, technical design, sourcing, fabric testing, pattern making, manufacturing, quality control, photo direction, creative direction, sales, graphic design, web design, e-commerce, marketing, social media, PR, accounting, customer service, and all of the organizational and administrative stuff I have to do daily. The design aspect is my favorite, but I often think that if I was only a designer I couldn’t do all these things I love to do and I would miss them.

What are the challenges that come with owning your own business?

Well, its really hard sometimes. It can be isolating, you can get down on yourself, and you can get in your own head a lot. Plus the self discipline of time management, creating and maintaining your timelines, and pushing yourself to grow can be really hard. I have to work really hard at staying balanced through self care and a positive mental attitude.

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Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I concept in depth each season like a sociologist on my subject matter. The inspiration is different each time and comes about organically through my current exposure to art, history, music, geography, current events. Wherever I am feeling inspired or compelled, I follow. I exhaustively research, write and pull photo references as I sketch my ideas. After I let myself be immersed in my concept, I source my fabrics and do my tech drawings and this is when start to edit down the big ideas to whats manufacturable and sellable.

What do you love most about Buffalo?

Truly, my family. Also the ability to go into the country or be on the water in various directions in 20 minutes.

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What’s currently on your playlist?

I am listening to my vinyl collection a lot at the moment, my next collection is very 70’s inspired so my listening habits are heavy on the singer songwriter babes of the 70’s.
Joni Mitchell – Blue
Carol King – Tapestry
Bonnie Raitt – Bonnie Raitt

What are your plans for the future of your business?

Currently I’m working on expanding my wholesale sales and e-commerce. I would like to make larger collections on a larger scale of production. Future expansions could possibly include a manufacturing facility or a retail location.

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Thank you so much, Molly, for answering my questions and this beautiful top! Make sure to check out her website Once And For All for more incredible designs!

Photographer Spotlight: Colin Gordon

A few weeks ago, I talked about my love of photography.  Recently, I’ve been very blessed to work with some extremely talented local photographers.  Instead of just compiling some of the photos in a random blog post, I wanted to really showcase these amazing camera magicians.

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The first photographer that I’m going to feature is Colin Gordon.  I’ve known Colin for a few months now, and he is such a genuinely nice person who has a true passion for his craft.  I shot with him a couple weeks ago on an extremely cold and windy day in Allentown, and although the weather conditions were a little rough, the photos turned out phenomenal!

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I asked Colin a few questions about his business and life in Buffalo…here’s what he had to say!

How long have you been a professional photographer?
I have been a professional photographer for about a year and a half.

What do you love most about photography?
There are so many things I love about photography that it’s hard to narrow down to just one! First and foremost, I love to create. Secondly, I love technology and computers. Being a photographer lets me justify buying new gadgets haha. Thirdly, making people happy with the images I create is an amazing experience. Not only am I doing what I love, I get to create something special for someone that can never be recreated and that will last forever. It’s honestly pretty surreal sometimes. Also, I love that photography forces me out of my comfort zone. It makes me explore new places and meet new people.

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Do you have a favorite location where you like to shoot?
My favorite location is the spot where I have yet to shoot! But on the realz Italy was amazing…

What’s your most memorable experience as a photographer?
There have been countless memorable experiences as a photographer. In the past year, I would have to say shooting the Shakey Graves concert at Canalside was a highlight. They’re one of my favorite bands and to be able to combine live music and photography is amazing. Two of my favorite things at once!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
There are many sources that I draw my inspiration from: local and national photographers, tv shows, and my friends and family.

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What do you love most about living and working in Buffalo?
I love living and working in Buffalo because you can feel the energy and excitement of the next generation of businesses and entrepreneurs. All I remember hearing when I was growing up was how terrible things are in Buffalo. Now, things are finally starting to turn around and it’s cool to watch it happen. It gives me hope for the future.

Favorite local restaurant and/or bar?
Too hard to pick only one haha. Here’s my top 5: Saigon Cafe, La Divina, Black Sheep, Mothers, and LLoyd (trucks and factory).

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Are there any locations in Buffalo where you would love to shoot but haven’t yet?
Yes! I want to shoot on top of one of the grain elevators. I’ve explored so many of them but have yet to get to the roof. I’ve seen other local photogs do it so there must be a way!

What’s on your playlist- what do you listen to while you are editing photos?
My taste in music is all over the place. I love house and techno but I also listen to a smorgasbord of bands. My most recently played bands on Spotify are: The Decemberists, The Head and the Heart, Odesza, Pinegrove, Ugly Casanova, Modest Mouse, Shakey Graves, Alt-j, and Vampire Weekend.


Thank you SO MUCH Colin for shooting with me!  I had a blast!!  Make sure to follow Colin on Instagram for your daily dose of gorgeous photography inspiration.

Nickel City Gritty: Hertel Avenue

By now, you’ve (hopefully!) read two of the interviews in my Nickel City Gritty series…if not, go ahead and click the link, I’ll give you some time.

Now that you have made yourself familiar with this project that is near and dear to my heart, let me present to you the very first Nickel City Gritty video!

This video was made possible by the incredible duo Brandon & Josh at Buffalo Above. I’ve been working with these guys for a few months now and from our first meeting I knew that we had something special. After hashing out a few ideas on where to take this series, we quickly decided to focus on the one thing that inspires me every day- Buffalo. This city, its neighborhoods and its people are a HUGE inspiration to me, so why not showcase it?

For the first video, I wanted to talk about my neighborhood- Hertel Avenue. I have never felt more at home than where I am now. In this video, I talk about why I love Hertel so much, I touch on my personal style, and you’ll see some gorgeous shots of the street and its businesses.

Big props to my husband for being a good sport and agreeing to be part of this project. He’s an avid cyclist who also has a passion for Buffalo and its culture, so it was only fitting that he would be the first subject. Also, I know that it was difficult for him to describe his personal style, but everyone has a style identity, even if you’ve never thought about it!

The team at Buffalo Above and I have a few more projects in the works, so stay tuned!  Where will Nickel City Gritty be showing up next?

Let’s Talk About Photo Shoots

All of the photos in this post were shot by the amazing Ryan Kell.  Dress is from Nasty Gal.

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Photo shoots are an interesting thing.  Sure, they seem simple at first.  You have the person taking the photo and the subject, but then all of these added factors come into play- equipment, lighting, weather, background, photographer’s skills, etc.  So what initially seems like a simple thing turns into something much more complicated.

Running a blog has made me appreciate photography so much more.  Sure, I still use my iPhone for quick shots, but there’s nothing like an incredibly crisp and detailed photo to really brighten up a post and give it life.

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I remember my first “big” photo shoot for my senior pictures.  I was SO excited to wear different outfits and do my makeup and hair all fancy.  My favorite outfit of the bunch was a one-shoulder leopard print top with a pair of sassy black pants and I stood in front of this faux brick wall backdrop in the photo studio.  I thought I looked SO badass and I was so proud of those photos.  I was like, “Oh my god, this is what it must feel like to be a celebrity!”

From that moment on, I was hooked.  The thing is, I wasn’t hooked on the sole idea of having photos of myself taken…don’t get me wrong, having some professional shots of yourself is a pretty cool thing, but I was actually hooked on the process itself- picking out the outfits, deciding on what types of photos I wanted to get, thinking about what the final images will look like, doing my hair and makeup, working on posing in the bathroom mirror…all of that is SO much fun to me.

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My second shoot after that was when I turned 18. My mother always told me, “You’ll never be as beautiful as you are when you are 18 years old.” Which, while I may have believed her then (I thought I was so bomb), I will have to respectfully disagree with her now. Thanks to a lot of practice with contour and highlighting and growing out my sperm eyebrows, I think I’ve blossomed from ugly duckling to swan over the course of 15 years (and wow, I’m old.)

This coming-of-age photo shoot was SO extra, and I’m laughing just thinking about it. It was in the same photo studio as my senior portraits, but this time, they had me laying on this cloud-like thing next to a white column, with a strapless bra on so it looked like I was topless, with angel wings on and a feather boa, and I was actually holding a real live dove. Yes, angel wings and a bird. I can’t make this up. I need to find these photos.

The main thing is that I was SO happy! Again, the process of having my photo taken was so exciting…but I’m not going to lie, I think the wings definitely helped.

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Flash forward to post-angel wings Lindsay and my photo shoot history is much more diverse. I’ve been so fortunate to work with some incredible photographers in my blogging career thus far. I know that a lot of bloggers, especially fashion bloggers, shoot with one photographer and one photographer only. Where’s the fun in that? There are SO many different styles of photography, so why not play around with exploring this amazing art form?

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So, back to my original point…wait, what was my original point?

Ah, yes. My point is that if you have an opportunity to work with a photographer, or just want to hire a photographer to take non-selfie shots of you, then DO IT!  It’s an amazing experience and you’ll get to practice your Tyra Banks smizing poses in the mirror at home.  Seriously though, I’ve found that no matter how many times I’ve practiced a pose or a facial expression, it NEVER turns out the way that I imagined it.  I’ve noticed that the most amazing photos happen when they aren’t rehearsed or too thought out.  Have fun and love the process.

And remember, if you’re feeling up to it, there’s always angel wings.

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A super huge thank you to my friend Ryan Kell for taking these photos.  You are awesome!  Seriously, people, contact him if you need photos taken or design work done.  He’s legit.

Personal Style: Bodysuit Love

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I think the last time I wore a bodysuit I was about 5 years old in dance class.  I’m pretty sure it was an obnoxious bright red and covered in sequins.

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Now days, bodysuits are much more fashionable than the spandex nightmares of my childhood.  I was a little bit nervous with the deep V on this bad boy, but a little bit of fashion tape and it stayed in place all night.  I think this has marked the start of my love of the modern bodysuit.  This one is from Express.

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Curious about this awesome brick walled hallway?  A few of my friends threw a studio party at their art studio downtown this past weekend.  I luckily remembered to snap a few photos that night…their new space looks amazing!

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