Monday, June 29, 2015

Women and clothes: Courtney McCrone

Some of us are lucky enough to find our calling during childhood. For Courtney McCrone, that moment happened at age 11. As a grade schooler she had already clocked hundreds of hours making patterns and sewing her own creations -- purses, aprons, slippers, dresses, doll clothes and more. Then someone called her a "fashion designer" and that was it.

She pursued her passion. From high school internships with local designers to attending the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles to returning to her native Cleveland to start her own clothing line, 23 Skidoo"I wanted to bring everything I learned about the industry to this booming city," Courtney says.

Lately she's been plenty busy prepping for the launch of her Summer 2015 Collection. Debuting on July 10, the new collection will feature vintage-inspired pieces with patterns harkening back to childhood summer camp memories (how cute!). But when she isn't running 23 Skidoo out of a basement-turned-Skadette-Headquarters, you will find Courtney trying to make spectacular use of her free time honing her woodworking skills, painting or reading under her favorite tree.


Jennifer Cho Salaff (JCS): Does fashion matter? Why or why not?
Courtney McCrone (CM): What a person chooses to wear says a lot about her. Sometimes when I'm in a place with lots of strangers I like to guess personality types by the shoes people wear. Fashion also points to the status of one's culture: the economy, religious beliefs, social norms and health, to name a few. Take a look at Western culture in 2015. Thrifting has never been hotter, which probably says something about our economy. Most anything is acceptable to wear these days, which points to our view of religion: a hodgepodge is best. Social media dominates our time and gives us the ability to spot trends from around the world instantly. "Fast fashion" (when trends get produced quickly and cheaply i.e. Forever 21) was birthed as a result of the immediate sharing of images. "America is fat, so bring on the jeggings." Fashion is the expression of what is current, whether the event takes place inside or outside our culture. Fashion matters because it reveals what's inside.

JCS: What is one item of clothing or accessory you carry with you or wear every day?
CM: Lately I've been wearing my dad's loafers almost every day (yeah yeah yeah, I have kinda big feet). But my current favorite accessory is a very fragile necklace made by my friend Meg. The necklace is a leather-studded band with a mink skull hanging from it. Last February I asked Meg to do an art trade with me. So she made me the necklace and I made her a limited edition Party Crownz sold in my shop.

JCS: Worst fashion trend (current or past)?
CM: Bringing back the 90s.  

JCS: Favorite fashion trend (current or past)?
CM: Bringing back the 90s.

JCS: Your fashion muse?
CM: Oh gosh, how do I choose only one? At the end of the day, it's Tavi Gevinson. It's always Tavi. She just does it. She somehow always looks like an effortless wind of magic. Her style has no relevance to age or time. Her outfits are unpredictable. As a lover of odd ball items and accessories, Tavi is my Queen Awk. When you see Tavi you think, "Where's the party?" and "Take me with you!" She is so perfectly retro, I just can't.  

JCS: Can you remember the first time you were conscious of a thing called "fashion?"
CM: I started sewing at age eight when I saw that my oldest sister's friend made her own purse. I was captured by the idea that I could make my own things. My mom took me to the fabric store that very day and I started to sew. I taught myself how to make patterns of clothes through years of trial and error. I made purses, aprons (with oven mitts), slippers, backpacks, dresses, doll clothes, skirts, pajamas, raincoats, swimsuits and more. I remember the first time I heard the term "fashion design." I was about 11 years old and somebody referred to me as a fashion designer. That moment felt right. 

JCS: How has your background (where you grew up, your heritage, etc.) influenced your sense of style?
CM: When I started sewing I got so much joy from making whatever my spirit led me to create. I began to express my personality through my clothes. At age 10 I started taking hip hop dance classes which influenced my punk-street style (baggy boy pants, layered graphic shirts and high top sneakers). At age 15 I discovered Greater Cleveland. One Saturday afternoon at a small flea market, I stumbled upon a patio full of the most dreamy vintage. I had never seen clothes like that before and I quickly became a regular. There is a special place in my heart for vintage and its nostalgia. It continues to be my go-to for inspiration and influence. Vintage will always be my fashion first-love.

JCS: Do you remember the moment you decided to start your own clothing line? Where did you get inspiration for the name, 23 Skidoo?
CM: Yes. It was 11pm on a Saturday, halfway through college. I was thrilled to have a quiet night and hit the sack before midnight. But then inspiration struck! I stayed up til 4am writing and sketching out every detail to launch my dream brand.  Back in high school I had taken a class on building your own brand and found the term "23 skidoo" in my research. It means, "To be of high spirits." That resonated with me and it is a big part of my company's branding -- being of high spirits.  

JCS: What kind of woman embodies the 23 Skidoo vibe?
CM: The 23 Skidoo woman has an adventurous soul and she desires to look and feel feminine on the journey. This woman is not familiar with boredom and finds adventure in the mundane. She carries herself in loveliness and confidence, knowing that she was created with purpose.  

JCS: Before you start sketching ideas for a new line, where (or from whom) do you get inspiration?
CM: Finding inspiration can be difficult. Fast fashion and social media platforms have over-saturated our minds that anything is good, which often makes us feel like we're left with nothing. So when I am in desperate need of inspiration for fresh designs I look to the past. I will forever love exploring my grandma's high school yearbook, and vintage LIFE Magazines from the 60s make me feel like a unicorn. Inspiration also tends to hit me out of nowhere, like when I'm watching documentaries about sushi or talking to someone who brings new perspectives to my little brain. Surround yourself with people who possess a wide variety of interests. It'll do ya good!

JCS: What are three things every woman should have in her closet?
CM: A hat, functional statement shoes and a dressy casual cress that is comfortable for any situation. The hat and statement shoes provide the opportunity to make any boring outfit a statement outfit. And the dress is your exciting fallback for any day you want to feel wonderful and comfortable simultaneously.

JCS: Describe your figure.
CM: It is a truth universally acknowledged that after a successfully completed game of Apples to Apples, the green cards in one's possession end up describing her. The first time I played Apples to Apples, I won three green cards: Misunderstood, Mystical and Fluffy. I'll just leave it at that.

JCS: When do you feel most sexy?
CM: When I eat Skittles for breakfast.

JCS: What outfit makes you the most happy?
CM: I feel most happy in my favorite dress. It is my favorite because it makes me feel most happy, and it looks like this:

JCS: What are you trying to do or achieve when you dress?
CM: When it comes to fashion, my goal is to be my true self. I feel most myself in happy dresses with my hair in a bun and an oddball accessory like my skull necklace or one of my handmade metallic Party Crownz that says "mom jeans." If I feel like the real me then I present myself accurately. The same thing is true of the days when I represent 23 Skidoo. As Head Skadette, I best be on my game.

JCS: What would you say is "you" and what would you say is "not you?"
CM: This is a great question that I find myself pondering often. I feel most myself in adorable dresses but there is a part of me that is a total goth. And then there is another part of me that loves street style. However I never, ever feel myself when I dress goth or street, so I stick with my pretty dresses and add hints of darkness with my accessories (i.e. skull necklace). I have a secret dream that one of my eyes will get poked out of the socket so that I would be forced to wear a pirate eye patch. Then if that happened I would completely change my wardrobe to be all black and velvet and leather. I would spare an eye for that. 

JCS: What do you admire about how other women present themselves? Name a few women in the public eye whose fashion you admire.
CM: There is nothing better to me than meeting a woman who is being herself. Women (and men, too -- people in general I suppose) can be incredibly insecure and feel extreme pressure to act a particular way. This goes directly against our nature as there is not a single person in the entire world who is identical to another. When I meet a woman who presents herself well, it is refreshing and encouraging to my little soul. Presenting yourself in true character says gobs more than how you present yourself through fashion. But fashion is a branch of the character/personality vine.

Some gals in the public eye who I dig... Princess Kate Middleton. Not a hair on her body is out of place. She exudes confidence and femininity and grace. Dressed to the nines yet her approachability is almost tangible. She is the ideal real life princess. Everything about Kate shouts "Royalty." I also love seeing pictures of Taylor Swift in public. Check out that 20-something professional! She is youthful yet womanly with her matching outfits and designer dresses and pump high heels. She looks clean and prepared for anything. Kate and Taylor are a bit more on the professional, classy side.

Two women whose fashion I admire on the edgy side are Alexa Chung and Florence Welch. These two... I love. Their outfits are always unpredictable and perfectly put together. Alexa and Florence both wear a lot of vintage. They look like entertainers, which is what they are!

JCS: What advice would you offer someone who wants to launch their own business (namely, a clothing line)?
CM: My advice comes in the form of two questions: 1) Is this really your dream? 2) Are you sure? If the answer to both of those questions isn't a loud and definitive YES, then run far, far away. Haha!! But seriously, owning a business is scary. It can tend to feel like it's you against the world. If 23 Skidoo wasn't my dream I would have to quit too many times to count because sometimes owning a business isn't fun. You have to say "no" to a lot of fun things because you have a deadline and it's up to you (and you alone) to do it. I wouldn't trade it for anything but working solo isn't sunshine and rainbows all day. But owning a clothing line is so worth it if it's your dream. So do it! Or don't. You decide.

Photos courtesy of Courtney McCrone.
Photo of Tavi Gevinson by Angelo Pennetta for British Vogue
Photos of Kate Middleton, Taylor Swift, Alexa Chung and Florence Welch from,, and   

Friday, June 26, 2015

Week in review

There's been lots of talk this week about Charleston, racism, the Confederate flag, white supremacy, gun control, etc etc etc. Maybe you're tired of it but I'm not. Let's keep talking

I have faith the talking will lead to doing. Because we, together as one people, have a lot of work to do.  

Have a contemplative weekend.

love, -j.


Everyone loves to talk about blackness; but what does it mean to be white? (The New York Times)

Scandal's Papa Pope on the Confederate flag, "You cried yourself to sleep because Lincoln hurt your feelings."  (Comedy Central) 

Emanuel AME Church holds its first Bible study, one week after the massacre. (NPR)

President Obama eulogizes pastor and state senator Clementa Pinckney.   

YouTube blogger and activist Laci Green on institutionalized racism

The white-supremacist group that inspired a racist manifesto. (The Atlantic) 

The Atlantic slave trade in two minutes. (Slate)

Know your history: the facts behind the Confederate flag. (The Young Turks)

Barry Blitt on his June 29 cover for The New Yorker. (The New Yorker)

Charleston residents showing us a that picture is worth a thousand words. (Twitter)

State rep. William Chumley is completely out of touch -- and now he's implying the victims of the Charleston massacre should have been armed. Unbelievable. (CNN)

The Robert E. Lee problem. (The New York Times)

Photo by Dan Budnik/Contact Press Images via NYT.

Equal dignity in the eyes of the law

A most good day in the Supreme Court, which declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 United States of America! 

I am so moved by Justice Anthony Kennedy's words in today's majority opinion: 

        "No union is more profound than marriage, for it 
        embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, 
        devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital 
        union, two people become something greater than they 
        once were. As some of the petitioners in these cases
        demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure 
        even past death. It would misunderstand these men and 
        women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. 
        Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so 
        deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for
        themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live 
        in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's 
        oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in 
        the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them 
        that right."

SCOTUS gives two thumbs up for the Affordable Care Act and Marriage Equality. I would say it was a good week for America!

"Pride" Facebook stickers by Cathy Lo.
Why I was against same-sex marriage and then changed my mind.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What if you fly?

Image from poem by Erin Hanson via DesignSponge.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Remove the flag (#Charleston)

Many of my black friends share the same sentiment about last Wednesday's terrorist attack in Charleston: far too many people have been silent.

"[We] have been talking about how disappointing it's been to not see our non-black friends say anything about a lot of these events... I feel so let down when so many make no mention of Charleston," my friend Lisa recently wrote to me.

I've also been disheartened by the lack of outrage, particularly among non-black public figures and especially with those in the blogosphere. 

But then I see the light. 

I heard this interview on NPR with South Carolina State Legislator Doug Brannon, who is white, and it restored my faith in humanity.

Brannon is one of the few Republican politicians who has had the courage to speak out recently against the Confederate flag. When asked if he had ever thought, in the five years he's been in the South Carolina House of Representatives, about doing something about the Confederate flag, his response was surprisingly candid and remorseful.

"I'm ashamed to tell you, 'No,'" Brannon, who was close friends with the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims in last Wednesday's mass shooting, said to NPR's Melissa Block. "I should have done it five years ago. It shouldn't have been the death of these nine incredible people. I should have done it. But I didn't. And I apologize for that."

Brannon is confident that there will be a motion in the state's Senate and House to file a new bill to take the Confederate flag down. "I think that we're going to debate this bill and take the flag down this summer," he said.

Brannon's convictions may jeopardize his chances at re-election, considering he represents an extremely conservative constituency. But he doesn't care, because doing to right thing is more important than garnering votes.  

"I'm going to do my job until I lose my job and if I lose it over this, I will lose with a smile," he said.

Let's hear more of our public servants and those in positions of power take a stand and speak up. Removing the Confederate flag -- which since its inception has been a symbol of hate, division and anarchy -- is one step of many that needs to happen in this country. 

Photo by Mladen Antonov for AFP/Getty Images via WLTX

Monday, June 22, 2015

We should speak of it often (#Charleston)

I hear my children playing in the backyard, their joy and laughter a glaring contrast to the despondency I feel about what happened in South Carolina.

Like most of America, I've been thinking, meditating, praying about Wednesday's shootings. Wondering what Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie Jackson and the Reverends Clementa Pinckney, Daniel L. Simmons and DePayne Middleton-Doctor said to loved ones before leaving for Bible study at The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that night. I wept as I listened to the victims' families, their spirits anguished and voices quavering, forgive alleged killer Dylann Roof for taking "something very precious away from [them]."
Wednesday's massacre in Charleston is our generation's Birmingham

The 1963 church bombing that killed four little girls was one of the first things that came to mind when I read the initial reports about Charleston. Both murders were acts of white supremacist terrorism, both took place in a spiritual refuge, both ignited (again) a national debate about race, race relations and institutionalized racism in this country. 

Outrage over the death of four innocent children marked a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement and bolstered support for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

What will we do about Charleston? 

After we've read and heard and posted and tweeted and regrammed the umpteenth news story about the killings, the outage, the grief, the Confederate flag, gun control, white supremacy, etc. will we be numb? Will we cry and rage and ask ourselves, "How could this happen again?" only to return to the status quo until another insufferable act?

On Friday morning, two days after the attack, I sought refuge online. I went to my favorite blogs, not wanting to escape from reality but rather to look for community. What were other people (not the media) saying about Charleston? I wasn't expecting anything heavy-handed, these were lifestyle and fashion blogs after all. But absolutely nothing? Not one well wish or thought or word about what I think was an egregious act of terrorism. It was as if nothing had ever happened.   

I was so upset by the radio silence I wrote to one of my favorite bloggers, whose work I greatly admire.

Joanna responded to my comment a day later.

I appreciate Joanna's prompt reply and the honesty and authenticity I read in her response. And I'm hopeful our conversation will start a dialogue on her site about out-of-the-comfort-zone types of topics. When one has a PA system as powerful as her's (Cup of Jo boasts 5 million monthly page views) I believe one has a responsibility to use that megaphone. To stay silent on these matters (matters which are much more than "news stories") only contributes to what Esquire's Charles P. Pierce calls "anesthetic innocence."

So what can we do?

We can sign petitions, follow civil rights activists on social media, be mindful parents and neighbors and bosses, be humble and moral and kind. We can speak up, wake up and never forget.  

Then we can hear the sweet sound of our children's laughter and know we are leaving them a better, more hopeful world.

"Nine" by Barry Blitt will appear on the June 29 cover of The New Yorker.

Friday, June 19, 2015

No jokes, only sadness (#Charleston)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My shorts dilemma

While I'm happy with this selfie and how I look in these striped and lace navy shorts with scalloped hem I must give credit to the heels I'm wearing. They make my legs look longer than they really are. Which makes the shorts flattering. I guarantee if I was wearing flats or my favorite sandals it would be an altogether different look (think tree stumps).

My fashion dilemma this summer? Finding the perfect shorts.

Unfortunately short shorts are the only things I can find out there. I won't do cut-off jean shorts (those days are over and why would I want to traipse around like a high schooler?). And I don't dare try the really teeny-tiny ridiculously short looks-like-underwear jean shorts. Never. Then again, I don't want to wear dowdy Bermuda shorts 

So these are the only shorts I own right now. My ratty, beat-up, cut-off sweatpants. They are so comfortable but I will only wear them at home. Is there something in between Bermuda shorts and really short shorts that are cute, flattering and most importantly, comfortable?

Suggestions? Help! 

Finding shorts for your body type. (Women's Health)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

RIP Lucky Magazine

Lucky, the once-wildly successful "magazine about shopping," officially closed shop yesterday. Though it was only a matter of time (it was no secret the print publication had been struggling for a while) I'm still a bit shocked. 

Did you read Lucky? Did you get giddy with joy when the newest issue arrived in the mail? Did you have as much fun as I did peeling off those "Yes!" and "Maybe?" stickers and placing them onto beautiful, glossy pages featuring a coveted pair of jeans, shoes or accessories?

The Lucky magazine during founder Kim France's 10-year editorship was my favorite era. France made what could have been just another vapid beauty mag into a fun, aspirational and well-written publication.

Rest in peace, Lucky. I will miss you, shopping buddy.  

How Lucky taught Rumaan Alam to write. (The Cut)

Still #AllinCLE

So proud of my Cleveland Cavaliers! They gave it their all -- heart, soul, sweat and even blood (a gash on his skull can't stop The King!). The competitor in me is disappointed at our loss last night, but as a friend pointed out, "Yo we got 2nd place in the NBA this year!"

What a fantastic ride.

The Cavs' NBA Finals was joyous, hopeful and heartbreaking. (Slate)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

We're all slackers

I'm so excited and anxious about tonight's game that my stomach is in knots. I can't imagine what LeBron is feeling right now. One thing's for sure, as he carries the Cavs to Game 6 he's got to be more focused than ever. Listen to this eye-opening NPR report about LeBron's crazy, grueling regimen during the Finals. 

Yep, we're all slackers compared to The King.

Illustration by Jym Davis.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Week in review

Last night's disappointing loss left me feeling emotionally drained. This is the first time in my life I've been such a die-hard sports fan that I often wonder, "Who is this girl?" while watching my beloved Cavs. 

See that wonderfully glorious photo above? That's where I want to be right now. Floating in the crystal waters next to that beautiful boat. 

Have a relaxing weekend.

love, -j.


I told you Birkenstocks are here to stay. (Vogue)

California writer Juan Felipe Herrera will be the next US poet laureate. (NPR)

The hipster exits stage right and the yuccie (yes, it's pronounced like "yucky") now takes center stage. (Mashable)

I'm kinda glad the school year is over. (Motherlode)

Flower power for your sneakers. (Girls of a Certain Age)

"I smoke a joint and I spin around 50 times." The wonderfully weird world of San Francisco. (The Atlantic)

For all you Ridley Scott aficionados, check out this 2-hour and 29-minute black-and-white film that splices Alien and Prometheus. (Kottke)

Omg I'm not the only one. There are other women who shave their faces! (The New York Times)

Father's Day is nine days away. Check out this great gift guide. (A Cup of Jo)

I thought Lenny Kravitz's scarf was ridiculously huge. But then I saw this. (Colossal)

[In and around Cleveland:] 

Canton teen cherishes her prom night with Delly. (The Plain Dealer)

An exclusive interview with the judge who cleared a Cleveland cop who shot two unarmed African-Americans. (Politico) 

Photo by @dedia via @earthpix. (Instagram)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Basketball diaries (#AllinCLE)

Things have been a little crazy around our house and I thank the Cleveland Cavaliers for that. Game 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals went into overtime and I think I almost suffered a heart attack. So much excitement. So much anxiety. So much drama.    

"I don't think I can do it if they go into overtime again," I announced to my family as we were watching Game 3 last night. It's always down to the wire. The Cavs are up by 20 points. The Warriors quickly catch up. And then I turn into a hot mess.

Something comes over me when I get really into a basketball game. And this coming from a self-professed girly-girl who didn't know who LeBron James was a few years ago.

Ever since Jeremy Lin burst into the national consciousness and my then-6-year-old son became obsessed with basketball, there's been no turning back. I even wrote about my own case of Linsanity for the Orange County Register back in 2012.   

And now we are in Cleveland living through sports history. LeBron came back and he wants to give this city its first-ever NBA title. Cleveland needs it. As an outsider who is not only looking in, but living here, I understand the fans' hopes and pains. Clevelanders are die hard. Clevelanders have heart. There's a reason why people around here say, "You've got to be tough!"

Yeah I'm from the Golden State and perhaps because I am I'm supposed to root for the Warriors. No doubt Stephen Curry's skills are a thing of beauty ("basketball poetry," as one sports reporter described it). But Delly played with everything he's got and #KingJames will always have this California girl's heart. 

Let's go Cavs! There's always this year!!!

Opening illustration via ILTHY.
Dellavedova and LeBron illustrations by Jordan Szymanowski (via Instagram).

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This week's obsession: Birkenstocks

While you will never find Tevas in my closet, I do make an exception for Birkenstocks. Love them or hate them, these ubiquitous sandals (the first Birks were made in 1774!) ignited the "ugly-chic" footwear revolution last summer.

The first time I wore Birkenstock sandals was in high school. My father thought they were the most heinous things. "Now why would you wear those?!" he asked, baffled. I think he actually shielded his eyes from my feet. 

As any teenager would, I completely ignored his sentiment and proudly wore my dorky orthopedic sandals everywhere. I loved them so much I brought them with me to college. UC Berkeley and Birks? No brainer.

And here I am, 18 years later and slipping my feet into a brand new pair. And oh joy! They're silver!

Ugly chic is here to stay.     

How to wear Birkenstocks and still look chic. (The Gloss)

Monday, June 8, 2015

The future is now (#ProjectCaden)

We moved here to Cleveland two and half years ago to fulfill some crazy dreams. My husband left his car design gig in California to build his own company. After 10 years in the auto industry he felt it was time to venture solo and really change the world.

What he's been working on has been a super under-wraps secret. Until now. Carlos' venture, #ProjectCaden, is now on Instagram, Kinja and forums like Ferrari Chat. And MOTR Division Magazine recently published Carlos' first exclusive interview about #ProjectCaden.

At its core, this adventure is about much more than making a car. It's the story of how one man's dream is inspiring and shaping the future.  

One dream.
One car.
One adventure at a time!

Read Carlos' full interview here. (MOTR Magazine)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Anthropologie summer fashion show

Girls love to dress up, sometimes for no reason at all. We must be subconsciously channeling the little girl in us. Did you ever sneak into your mother's closet and try on her dresses? I remember the hem of my mom's yellow tea dress reaching down to my toes, making me look like I was wearing a fancy evening gown.

I recently had the opportunity to play dress up at an Anthropologie Summer Fashion Show hosted by the store I work at in Cleveland. It's an invite-only event highlighting new products and showcasing the upcoming season's trends, followed by every girly girl's favorite thing to do: shop (we close the store for the entire event). Our fashion shows are so much fun! 

Here are four outfits I modeled for the show: (L) a "painted" short-sleeve sweatshirt tee paired with my favorite shorts (navy stripes and lace overlay with a scalloped hemline); (R) a delicate halter tank with these super comfy chambray trousers. And the heels -- suede platforms with classic hardware -- aren't they adorable? 

The above looks are some of the pretty spring/summer dresses you'll find in the store. (L) I loved this muted fit-and-flare shirtdress with front tie. (R) And my favorite dress of all is this beautiful floral organza garden dress.    

We also had a special pint-sized model that evening. Talk about girls who love to dress up. This little one is no exception!

A few snaps "backstage": Anna and Lauren doing our hair and makeup.

Sam and Jade resting before the show. (Phew! It's hard work being a model!)

My infinitely talented friend Jennifer catered AND co-hosted the event.

A group pic of all the models in the show (all but two of us work at the store!). I love the diverse representation of ethnicities, body types and age. It goes to show that fashion knows no boundaries.

And lastly, Izzy with her friend Mel after the show. Just a few antics represented here. ;)

Fashion prodigy loves Anthropologie.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

TEDxCLE 2015

TEDxCLE 2015 descends upon Cleveland in just a few days! (Friday at the Cleveland Museum of Art, to be exact.) This year's diverse roster of speakers includes an urban poet, a playwright/transgender advocate, a Guggenheim Fellow, a children's rights activist, a chef/food educator and world-renown doctorThere is so much passion and talent in this city and so many change-the-world kind of ideas circulating. I can't wait to immerse myself in this exchange and walk away inspired.

Founded by husband-and-wife team Eric Kogelschatz and Hallie Bram Kogelschatz, TEDxCLE is in its sixth year and raising the bar with the theme, "Untold." As a storyteller myself, I'm particularly invested in this year's subject.

I recently pulled Hallie away from her beyond-busy schedule to share what we can expect. Thanks Hallie for your time. Looking forward to seeing Cleveland shine!


Jennifer Cho Salaff (JCS): TEDxCLE is coming up! What can we expect this year?
Hallie Bram Kogelschatz (HBK): This year -- the event's 6th -- is really exciting for Eric and I and we have the opportunity to explore a theme that is very important to Cleveland's future. At least, in our humble opinion!  The theme is "Untold," giving us a chance to talk about topics that are lesser mentioned, focusing on speakers that may not be widely heard from, or if they do speak regularly, they're talking about topics that are critical but have not shared publicly in the past. In many cases, these are topics that separate us from being a world-class city. It's really getting to the core of where Cleveland finds herself in the process of reinvention. 

JCS: In what ways have you seen the event grow?
HBK: Each year there is more and more demand for tickets. We sold out again the day the tickets went on sale! [This] showcases the curious nature of our region's citizens.

JCS: You and Eric are passionate about Cleveland's revitalization and bringing TED here seems to be a part of that. Tell me how it's been important for the city.
HBK: Through TEDxCLE we have had the opportunity to share stories with those within the region as well as outside its boundaries. Our speakers have seen their talks syndicated nationally and in some cases, globally. It's wonderful to be a part of a group of people that is working tirelessly to change the narrative around what it means to be a Clevelander in the modern age.

JCS: Let's talk about this year's theme, "Untold." The premise is exploring stories in Cleveland that "need to be looked at differently, more intensely." I love that! How did your team come up with that?
HBK: Each year as we reflect on the previous year and think about future programming we ask ourselves, "Is there a need for another TEDxCLE event?" We want our event to be useful, to accurately reflect the zeitgeist of our city. We try to present topics that are not being explored. When we began TEDxCLE that was an easier task. There were far fewer events. The good news is that our city has changed. There is a wealth of wonderful programming that one can experience throughout the year. This, however, does make it a fun challenge for us to pull together topics that are fresh. By choosing a theme like "Untold" we forced ourselves to dig deep, do more extensive research than ever before. We are so excited about this year's line up. It's truly a fabulous group of speakers.  

JCS: You're a native Clevelander. How would you describe Cleveland? Why is it a good time to be here?
HBK: This city is drastically different from the Cleveland of my youth and even the Cleveland I came back to seven years ago. Cleveland is vibrant. A city of creators and doers. It's so much more passionate and optimistic now that when I returned. I used to get asked all the time, "You lived in Boston? For a decade?! And you chose to move back to Cleveland? Why?!" Nobody asks me "Why" anymore. We are world-class. We are not without our issues, but what city is? I think it's exciting to be a part of this city right now. One person really can make a real difference.

JCS: What makes a TED speaker dynamic and unforgettable?
HBK:  Not all TED Talks include a personal narrative, but creating the possibility for universality really works at our event. The audience wants to be inspired -- how can each speaker share a bit of brilliance? How can audience members use what inspires them at the event to fuel their own dreams for themselves, for our community?

JCS: What do you want this year's attendees to walk away with?
HBK: The confidence to tell their stories and pursue whatever it is that they are most passionate about. Everyone has a story to tell. I hope our event inspires people to share. To remove the obstacles that separate us from our goals and each other.   

Photo of Hallie and Eric at TEDxCLE 2014 by Jeff Downie.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

This week's obsession: lace-up sandals

Gearing up for summer means a few new pairs of sandals in the repertoire. Last week I mentioned this jeweled number from Target (which are now on sale!). Yesterday a new girl at work wore these lace-up gladiator sandals from Old Navy. I got them in black and brown and now my collection is complete.

Cheap and chic and ready for summer!

Gladiator sandals in gold. (via C.Style)