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De-cem-ber
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“The month of joy, happiness, and to finish what you started.”

December is upon us, folks! Yet another winter season has snuck up so quickly. I hope everyone had a peaceful, relaxing break. I enjoyed my time at home this Thanksgiving week, feasting with family and friends. On Thursday I played games of candy crush with my cousins on the iPad (modern-day holiday bonding) and took an absurd amount of pictures of my goddaughter, Kassidy, on my iPhone. I was especially touched when my 10- year-old cousin Madison revealed to me a lengthy book of her clothing sketches and designs. I always knew she was artistically talented, but I was really impressed! She definitely has an eye for fashion and design. Next time, I’ll snap a few pictures to share.

Several times, I vigorously raided my downstairs coat closet for winter coats, scarves, gloves and boots to fight the cold. My mom and I have built up an impressive collection of winter accessories over the years, and it’s always a blast to try everything on and experiment with different pieces. To summarize our closet: It’s a fur wonderland. Cream fur gloves, brown boots with fur lining on the inside, a Guess fur coat… the list is endless. I encourage everyone to add a little fur (even if it’s in small detail like in my scarf above) to your winter wardrobe. It’s not only fabulous, but warm and cozy as well.

On Black Friday, instead of hopping out of bed at some unforsaken hour, my mom and I waited until afternoon to hit the stores. I scored a tan BCBG peacoat for 50% off original price. The whole BCBG department was 50% off, which made me want to simultaneously jump for joy and cry seeing as it is STILL expensive. Inevitably, we ended up at T.J.Maxx after a few hours. For those of you that double-fisted coffee at midnight on Friday and made your way through the crowds-I’ll give ya credit. It’s just not me.

I hope everyone has an amazing December month with family and friends! Stay tuned for the release of the December issue of Thread Magazine, coming soon!

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K is for Kismet

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Introducing Kismet, Athens newest fashion hot spot! Kismet, located at 16 W. Union Street in Uptown Athens, is a boutique retail shop for men and women. Aside from clothing, this charming boutique sells jewelry, accessories, gifts, and home décor. In other words, it’s a little slice of heaven. In my opinion, this store is Athens’ hidden gem; a diamond in the rough. If you live in Athens, you may have passed by it without even noticing.

 Personally, I discovered Kismet a few months ago one brisk, cool morning. I had reached a point in the semester where I had grown extremely restless for something new to hang in my closet. My urge to shop had reached a dangerous high. Armed with my wallet and debit card, I marched into Kismet one Monday morning before class. I had heard little about the store, but was curious to see what it had to offer. I walked over to a few racks of clothes and was instantly enlightened. After being away from any clothing stores for some time, this was a treat. I spotted Free People sweaters and was instantly sold! I loved it. I ended up purchasing a black and cream knit sweater and walked into my Spanish class five minutes late carrying a shopping bag. Whoops.

On Saturday, the manager graciously let us frolic around her store and hold a miniature photo shoot!

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The wonderful thing about Kismet is its diversity. The store carries brands such a Billabong, Free People, and Lur, just to name a few. Upon entering the store, you’ll find an array of home décor and gifts such as picture frames, painted canvases, vases, books and journals, coffee mugs, candles, and an assortment of other goodies. The middle section of the store is filled with racks of oversized sweaters, thermals, cardigans, pea coats, formal dresses, pants, and leggings. You can also find warm-weather accessories, purses and book bags, and jewelry for nearly any occasion. The back of the store is filled mostly with shoes (including a pair of super cute combat boots that I almost snagged). Kismet even sells yoga apparel (who knew?)

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Kismet definitely has an earthy, “hippie” vibe to it. However, I could not fit the store into one category if I tried. Its labels and merchandise are much too diverse. If you’re looking to do some Christmas shopping, this is the place. I’m willing to bet that, at Kismet, you could find a gift for your best friend, mom, aunt, cousin, big sister in your sorority… whoever! kismet 7

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Follow Kismet on social media for updates, discounts and upcoming in-store events!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KismetAthens

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KismetAthens

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kismetathens/

Instagram: kismetathens

Phone: 740-249-4536

Makeup Makeover

This weekend, I traveled to Miami University in Ohio with my friend Jenna and her family. One weekend of immersion in the Oxford culture and non-stop fun and celebrations has undoubtedly taken a toll on my sleep schedule/wellness. However, I would return in a heartbeat! I enjoyed my time in the scenic region of southwest Ohio. Despite whatever deep-rooted rivalries there are between Miami and OU, I experienced minimal disdain. While OU is often referred to as the “Harvard on the Hocking,” Oxford, filled with quaint shops and eateries, has a unique small-town charm. The school consistently ranks as one of the best in the nation. But don’t worry, I won’t be trading in my green and white for red anytime soon. HOUme is where the heart is.

Aside from crimson red Miami quarter zips, I was surrounded by a sea of Burberry scarves, long-sleeved Polo shirts, and designer bags. Vineyard Vines and Southern Tide T-shirts also took center stage. Girls traded in boots and Longchamps for black dresses and heels in the evening (Jenna and I felt slightly out of place in our skinny jeans on Friday). On Saturday, I dressed up a bit in a black and white sweater dress and a glitzy bronze necklace.

To my pleasant surprise, many girls down-played their makeup. On Saturday, I met a fellow fashion blogger. When I complimented her outfit and makeup, she eagerly informed me that she was barely wearing any. Her makeup was simple, minimal, and worked to enhance her features rather than conceal them. Her skin was absolutely blemish-free (probably as a result). I appreciated her approach to makeup and easily related. Less is More!

Lately, I have given some thought on how to re-vamp/clean my makeup collection. I will most likely conform and purchase the Naked Palette by Urban Decay over winter break (rumor has it there is a “Naked3″ so stay tuned I suppose). The Naked2 is packed with 12 taupe-colored neutrals, including colors such as “Chopper” and “Snakebite.” My favorite is “Half Baked,” a subtle gold shadow.

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I also plan to purchase more Clinique chubby sticks! Chubby Sticks have been a staple in my collection for a few years now. Clinique makes the best moisturizing lip sticks. They’re the perfect combination of a lipstick and chap stick and do NOT rub off! My favorite is “Chunky Cherry.” The color perks me up without wearing much other makeup. I’m eager to see which Clinique products catch my eye this season. I tend to form an unnatural bond with anything Clinique including foundation, eye cream, lipstick, and eye-shadow duos. You name it and I’m most likely already in love. Here are my favorites!

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Shop online for the holidays!

http://www.clinique.com/index.tmpl

Color Me Beautifully

This weekend, I traveled home to Toledo! My home is a true delight in the fall. Though almost nothing compares to Athens, northwest Ohio is a close second. Driving in and out of my neighborhood, I was inspired by the mustard yellow and crimson red hues that littered the ground and painted the sky. My backyard showed little green area, as autumn colors had completely taken over.

Before winter approaches and my surroundings become rather bleak and dreary, I wanted to showcase some of the best brightly colored pieces that my closet (and my mom’s) has to offer. Though I tend to gravitate to blacks, browns, and greys in the colder months, I absolutely love a burst of color. This season, my favorite colors include mustard yellow, gold, burgundy, and cream. (I own a few yellow cable-knit sweaters that I fully intend on wearing in the upcoming weeks). Designers and celebs have fully embraced it and I’m in love (besides Kimmy Kardashian. Enough with the neutrals already!)

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Sweater: Free People

boots: DSW

Animal prints have also made their way out again. My mom’s closet is literally “jungle fever.” She loves a good cheetah bag, scarf, or coat.  The key to wearing animal prints is to avoid tackiness. If you are going to wear it, pick one accessory at a time and keep the rest of the outfit fairly simple. Don’t overload on a pair of leopard flats, a wild purse, and spotted sunglasses. You only need one item to make a statement. Several designers have started to do neon leopard print, which in my opinion is absolutely displeasing to the eye. Stick with blacks, browns, and camels.

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coat: Ralph Lauren

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     jacket: Victoria’s Secret sport collection

bag: Antonio Melani 

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 Here, my mom shows off her new scarf from Banana Republic! I love the rich camel tone and soft fur at the neckline. She paired it with a simple black sweater from Ann Taylor. She looks amazing!

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Finally, it wouldn’t be a weekend at home without hitting the pavement at the mall. My mom and I made stops at Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, H&M, and Ulta, to name a few. Festive holiday decorations lit up store windows and displays. Colorful stripes, fur vests, and chunky sweaters seemed to be recurring trends in every store. No complaints here! I especially loved Banana’s winter collection. I managed to snap a few photographs inside the store while the workers gave me a few unhappy glares. Enjoy.

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Make A Statement

In an article I recently came across in the October 2013 issue of Lucky magazine, something caught my attention. In a conversation between the Calvin Klein Collection Women’s creative director Francisco Costa and Calvin Klein’s blogger and social media contributor Hanneli Mustaparta (also a former model), Costa stated that “Personal style is about being inspired by fashion, but adding another element that is just you.” Preach it, Costa.

So, what is “just you?” Is it that vintage scarf that you found at a thrift store that looks like its worth a pretty penny? Is it a personalized necklace that you never take off? Maybe it’s your natural curly hair or thick, bold eyebrows like Cara Delevigne’s. For me, it’s probably my grandmother’s watch. I wish I could say that I was the pioneer of the gold watch, but I’d be lying through my teeth. My grandmother’s watch has a vibrant gold face accompanied by a black leather band. It’s magnificent, and I’m rarely seen in pubic without it.

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One of my favorite ways to add an “element that is just you” is through a statement necklace. Sounds cliche, but I beg to differ. Statement necklaces instantly dress up any outfit. They breathe life to even the most simple ensembles. Wear one with a pair of boyfriend jeans and a basic tee and bam- you’re a star. Same goes for a black dress and heels. Even Michael Kors loves statement pieces (see above Tweet).

Because the holidays are fast approaching, it is time to search for the perfect statement necklace to show off to family and friends. For the holidays, I prefer something glitzy and glamorous. I’m also a fan of jewel tones and, of course, gold. There are several affordable pieces out there! The best website I have found for inexpensive necklaces BY FAR is baublebar. Amazing! Here are my favorites.

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Bauble Bar necklace here

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J.Crew necklace here

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Kate Spade New York necklace here

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Sea Urchin Collar necklace here

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Anthropologie necklace here

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Anthropologie necklace here

Class, Sass and A Southern State of Mind

I have often wondered what it would be like to live in the south. Southern culture, hospitality, food and some good ole’ fashion southern charm- it sounds like utopia. There’s something inviting about the relaxed, carefree nature of the South.

After spending a little too much time in middle school watching re-runs of the Disney Channel original movie, Johnny Tsunami, I became intrigued. Although this movie was filmed in Hawaii, I imagined it to be similar to the south (makes sense?) I pictured myself living in a small house with a hammock and ocean-front view, spending my days swimming and sun-bathing near crystal blue waters. Maybe I’d even learn to surf, although the thought of wearing a black full- body suit in ninety degree weather confused me. If all else fails in college, maybe I’ll carry out with this plan.

Anyways, as November approaches and temperatures hover right around freezing, let us pause and assume a southern state of mind. This week, I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview Anna Kate DeBerardino, senior at the University of Georgia and creator of lifestyle brand Kiss My Southern Sass. DeBerardino, an advertising major, started the company in March of 2012 in her apartment in Athens, GA. Since 2012, KMSS has grown enormously.  Orders have shipped to each of the United States and countries such as Canada and Australia. They have an online store found here and have recently expanded to in-store retail in several fabulous, high-end boutiques in the south. KMSS sells gear for men and women, including tank tops, t-shits, long-sleeved shits, kooizes, hats and croakies, among other items. They even outfitted for the Kentucky Derby Royal Court 2013. Their motto? “No matter what state (or country) you’re in, southern is a state of mind.” Sounds pretty good if you ask me.

Here’s nine things that you probably didn’t know about this cute, classy and sassy company.

M: How did you come up with the idea to create KMSS? Where did the ideas come from?
I always had the twitter account as an anonymous account under an anonymous name. I had about 10,000 followers. It was a spur of the moment thing. After coming back from spring break, I decided to design my own things and I created a website. I changed websites a couple of times. This is my favorite version so far. I just started selling merchandise. I am in charge of the website and Twitter account now.

M: What clothing brands or companies inspire you?
I love Kate Spade; she does a lot of things with bows. I think KMSS is a more casual version of that. I also love Lily Pulitzer.

M: How do you spread the word about KMSS?
Social media is the primary way to connect with people. Our target audience is females ages 18-24. It’s easiest to reach people through social media. We are bigger on Facebook; we have about 80,000 likes on our page. We also have campus reps on different college campuses. They do Facebook posts, Twitter, Pinterest boards. They go to different sorority chapters and inform them of what we have and what is going on. We are still growing.

M: According to your website, your motto is “No matter what state or country you’re in, southern is a state of mind.” What constitutes a “southern state of mind?”
It’s always about being warm, welcoming and kind and it’s the lifestyle. It doesn’t realy have anything to do with where you live. It’s really relatable.

M: There are several retailers for KMSS. Some are located in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. What types of shops are these?
Most of them are high-end boutiques and lifestyle brands. There is one chain of specialty outfitters across the South that sells our merchandise. The rest are higher-end boutiques. Right now, we are not really focusing on more retailers or actively searching for them. We are really trying to gain credibility.

M: What’s your favorite item that you sell?
In general, my favorite is the “Running the World” tank for the fall. I also love the long-sleeved shirts because they are perfect to wear with leggings and boots and are so comfy.

M: You are involved with several different charities and organizations. Do you have any upcoming philanthropy events planned?
Right now, we are organizing a can drive. The campus reps are donating cans. Food banks all around the U.S. are contributing to a Chili Cook-Off at UGS. It’s fun to give back when you have the money, and I realize that we have the money. We help where we are needed and are always there to lend a hand.

M: What advice do you have for young college women who dream of starting their own business?
Don’t wait! Start now, start working on your business and you’ll be ready. Pay attention to details! The quality of a product is very important. They are things that make you memorable. The fastest way a company can grow is by word of mouth.

M: What do you see happening in the future for KMSS?
We just hope to grow in the future. It will depend on how fast we grow. It would be nice to break into our own retail and our own boutiques. It’s something that will take time.

Check them out!

Facebook /Twitter/Website

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Nina Knows Best

Public Service Announcement: it’s here! Before I dive into this week’s post, I’d like to take a moment (or two) to drool over the new issue of Thread Magazine. The latest issue was released on Thursday, and boy is it exquisite. If you have not already done so, take a moment to flip through the pages and feast your eyes on some brilliant work. I am so proud of the editors and staff of Thread, as they worked incredibly hard to make this issue a success. Some of my favorites include the article “Structured Ambition” on pg. 76 and the photos from the “Sweet Nothings” shoot beginning on pg. 110. You can also find my articles on pgs. 26 and 62. Check it out here, I promise you will regret nothing.

Drawing inspiration from Thread and reflecting on my unbounded love for fashion magazines, it only seems fitting that I recognize Nina Garcia, Creative Director of Marie Claire. In an August 2010 interview with The New York Times, Garcia stated her basic fashion message, which is to “go for simple elegance. It’s the best way for women to dress when faced with thorny situations, like what to wear if you’re single and going out with girlfriends on Valentine’s day.”

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 Most probably know Garcia as the tough judge on reality TV show Project Runway. (Though I’ve watched only a handful of episodes I’ll admit I have a guilty pleasure for fashion guru and host Tim Gunn). Garcia was born in Barranquilla, Columbia. She began traveling with her father from a young age where she experienced fashion in different cultures, including the U.S. She idolized her mother’s knack for style and fashion. She moved to the states at age 15 and attended Boston University and later the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where she studied fashion and fashion merchandising. She did several internships and landed a position at Elle Magazine. In 2000, she became the Fashion Director of Elle. Eight years later, she moved to Marie Claire and assumed the position of Creative Director, where she works closely with photographers and stylists to make each and every issue fabulous. Oh, I forgot to mention that she’s a New York Times bestselling author of four books (her “Little Black Book of Style” is on my reading list).

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 “The most long-lasting relationships in fashion are the ones entered into thoughtfully. Lose yourself in a moment of lust for the latest it bag or shoe and you may live to regret it. But commit to a classic that fits perfectly into your vision of the future and you’ll spend many happy years together. How to find that everlasting love? The first step is to know thyself.”

-Nina Garcia

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 Truly, I believe that Nina is genuine. As a women who describes herself as “shy,” she’s quite frank and to-the-point. Her style is elegant, classic. If I could spend a day with her, I’d probably request that she introduce me to Michael Kors as well. Hey, a girl can dream. She’s just fabulous and I can’t wait to see what she does in the future!

Twitter
Website
 
Marie Claire

Random, but I found the “20 Must-Follow Fashion Instagrams” HERE!
And watch this cool video from Paris Fashion week by Bill Cunningham here.

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