Let’s Go On A Mural Tour!

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All photography by Ryan Kell

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know just how obsessed I am with public art.  So much so that I have an entire page on my blog dedicated to public art in Buffalo and I list the locations & artists so you can check them out for yourself.  This is an ongoing project that I’m updating regularly so keep stopping by for more!

Last weekend, I had planned to do an Instagram story and Snapchat takeover about local murals for Step Out Buffalo, and coincidentally, two of my favorite humans in the world, Billy & Pat, had asked if I was free the same day as they were filming a video all about Buffalo public art.  With our forces combined, plus the sick photography skills of Ryan Kell, we set out on a day full of art adventure.

Peep on some of these great photos of our fun-filled day of urban exploration.  Because I love you, I’ll post the locations of these pieces on top of the photos, just in case you would like to visit and take some bomb ass selfies (make sure to tag me in any of those selfies on Instagram!)

1221 Main Street, Buffalo

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710 Main Street, Buffalo
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461 Ellicott Street, Buffalo
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Nacho Break at Deep South Taco!
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515 Main Street, Buffalo (side of building)
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515 Main Street, Buffalo (back of building)
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233 Allen Street, Buffalo
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245 Allen Street, Buffalo (side of building)
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Albright Knox Art Gallery
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72 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo
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45 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo
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I had SO much fun with these guys.  Make sure to check out Billy & Pat’s video below to follow along with our adventure!!

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!

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.