Passion for Fashion

Located at 227 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, is a little shop by the name of St. Hrouda.  Walking inside, one will find a combination boutique / art gallery, managed by the fashion extraordinaire Nicole Bell.  St. Hrouda’s walls are chicly lined with art and clothing from local artists and brands, including, my particular favorite, those made and designed by Nicole Bell herself.

Though I was in Brooklyn this past July, I have not yet seen this wonderful boutique/art gallery, because it has only recently opened its doors.  When Nicole first took over the space this fall, it was a somewhat drab and old-looking little shop.  Within weeks, she and her father, through their combined genius, had put together one of the most classy spaces I’ve ever seen (even in photographs).  The before and after photos of the space showed how true a transformation had taken place, and they actually had me wanting to jump up and down to celebrate the amazing results.  It is now the bea-U-tiful space of St. Hrouda, named for Nicole’s grandmother, and housing brands from New York, Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Paris, London, and LA, while featuring, of course, Nicole Bell.  And the gallery portion of St. Hrouda displays art by local New York artists (including, again, art by Nicole Bell herself), all for sale.

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On a regular basis, Nicole hosts a ladies’ night at St. Hrouda – from which I always see photos of wine and fabulous personal styling sessions (Think of what Becky Bloomwood does with her customers in the Sophie Kinsella novels) – as well as a variety of other events and pop-up shops/parties to help integrate St. Hrouda into the beautiful community surrounding it.

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Photos of the Grandmother Hrouda who inspired the name, along one of the walls of St. Hrouda

Now, let’s talk for just a minute about the amazing, spectacularly inspired fashionista behind it all: Nicole Bell.  I recently had the opportunity to visit and interview Nicole in her work studio in Brooklyn, just weeks before she began work on opening St. Hrouda.  Nicole is From Houston, Texas, and, only a handful of years ago, founded her fashion brand Nicole Bell.  Nicole herself is a goofy yet stylishly sassy woman who is taking on the world with long legs and big, brave strides.  She never fails to put a smile on my face when I am with her, and her determined outer self never hides the truth of what it really takes to be successful in fashion – life is hard, and making it in fashion is even harder.

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Nicole Bell of Nicole Bell and St. Hrouda

Nevertheless, fashion is her passion, and so she is going for it with all she’s got (and then some she’s still figuring out)!

Every time I see a Nicole Bell outfit, my inner Lady Gaga whoops with joy and longing – Ooooh! I want! I want! it always seems to shout, over and over, not unlike a little kid begging for ice cream.  Nicole’s designs are impeccable and utterly breathtaking on the powerhouse female front.  When I picture my BA* self taking on the world in heels, she’s wearing Nicole Bell.  And the world is looking on in awestruck astonishment. 🙂

Do yourself a favor, and give my interview with Nicole Bell a listen.  I learned so much about the fashion world, as well as how Nicole comes up with her individual designs and collections/lines.  Her sense of gratitude to those who have contributed to her journey thus far – as well as those who continue to contribute and show their support – is clear, as well as her almost unreal dedication to sharing her eye and inspiration with the world through fashion, despite the many, many hardships that have come with her endeavors and that still lie ahead.  Nicole does not have it all figured out, and that is just part of the beauty of exploration involved in furthering her passion for fashion.

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Nicole and Khaleesi, her baby boxer, @st.hrouda

The talk these days is all about getting to know the people behind our food and our clothing  – Buy local is a regular mantra (alongside Know your farmer and Made in the USA, in efforts to support quality products and fair trade, respectively).  The woman behind this shop and clothing line is definitely worth getting to know.  Especially if you’re in the New York area, give Nicole Bell a solid look – she is local and well worth the visit.  And, even if you aren’t in the area, look her up anyway – she’s that good.

When you find yourself interested in learning about the glories, trials, and tribulations of pursuing a love of and passion for fashion, give our interview a listen.  If you missed the link above, click here to listen to the interview I did with Nicole!

Definitely check out (and follow) her Instagram accounts for St. Hrouda (@st.hrouda) and Nicole Bell (@nicolebelldesigns) – the photos and videos on there inspire me just about every day.

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Notes from the interview:

The photographer Nicole really loved from the skate park is Nico Nordström, found at http://www.niconordstrom.com/

If you prefer regular websites (or want to buy something), check out www.sthrouda.com and www.nicolebell.co.

Check out Nicole’s 2018 New York Fashion Week show here – it’s awesome.  Just scroll down a bit on the page that opens for the video.

*Bad-a**, for those who don’t know

Post-a-day 2019

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My future, felt

I’m starting to have a rather solid feeling about this idea of doing interviews… in some form or other, I want to interview people.

Perhaps it is journalistic or nerdy, or even fan-style of up-and-coming individuals in various realms of society interviews… perhaps it is Malcolm Gladwell blow-your-mind-every-single-time-while-leaving-you-feeling-like-a-now-genius book interviews style… perhaps something else entirely…

But it is interviews… I can finally feel that clearly enough to tell.

And I’m excited

Post-a-day 2018

La Traviata and the World Series

Tonight, I celebrated the Astros’ World Series win with a small group of people that included, but was not limited to, doctors, homosexuals, teachers, Romanians, and a temporary Houstonian, who is a godsend in the opera.  I didn’t really know any of them – we all just love music, and opera specifically.  At each intermission at the opera tonight, the screen typically reserved for the supertitles and announcements about Houston Grand Opera, displayed the score of the Astros-Dodgers game.  During the curtain call, one of the leads showed the latest score on his hands, to relieve us all the worry.  And, when a small group of us gathered for a ‘behind the music’ miniature interview with one of the performers, the game was discussed.  The performer has only been in Houston a couple months, but he was as excited about the game as anyone else.  And, when the official interview had ended, and we were all chatting, and the game ended, we all celebrated together like friends.  And, in Houston, that is normal enough.  And, I found the company to be so truly a representation of our town, that it made the win that much better.  In Houston, just about anyone can talk to just about anyone.  You look at groups of kids, and even people my age and up, and they’re often from all over the world, either directly so or by heritage.  In Houston, we are diverse and we are loving.  (This is person-to-person, not car-to-car, you see – people tend to forget that a car contains a person, so cars get treated way differently than people who are face-to-face.)

Anyway, I began to wonder if any of the players on the Astros team were actually from Houston.  I’m not so sure any of them are from Houston. And, while that is a bit odd, seeing as Houston is celebrating their victory, it also is rather fitting.  Houston is packed with people who are originally from it.  People regularly come to Texas, and find themselves never wanting to leave (though, I know that this is my always the case).  We are the most diverse city in the USA, and that can be observed not just walking the streets, but in looking at our baseball team.  Those guys are from all over, just like the population of our city.  I find it kind of cool, really.

Anyway, yay, Astros, and yay, for the fabulous operatic baritone that is George Petean!

Post-a-day 2017

What’s next’s what’s next

I have been worrying lately about my future.  Every time I aim to figure out how to steer my career for the long term, I end up somewhat sad and upset, and totally uninspired.  Thinking about this this weekend, I had the sudden obvious realization that I don’t have to know my long term – I don’t have to know what’s next after what’s next.  Just one what’s next is good enough.  It’s better than good enough – it’s actually great.  Ideal, possibly.  Yes, I have all sorts of ideas for my future, but they don’t need to be solid, set in stone now and forever.  Every year, my dad is ‘about to retire’, and that’s been for the past decade, I believe.  And yet, he’s still chugging along happily (mostly happy with it, anyway) at his job.  And he’s one of the most plan-y people I know when it comes to work, finances, and career choices.

So, if I go for this now, I can be looking for what’s next while doing it.  I certainly know that I end up becoming a new, different person after every phase of this or that, so how could I possibly know now what the future, new I will want most?  Though I have my amazing moments, I’m not God, so I don’t know all.

I guess it is kind of just a slightly altered perspective of “What About Bob”’s baby steps.  Worry about this room… then, when I’m in the hall, think about that hall…, and so on and so forth.

Yeah, I’m down with that.

Also, Brad Paisley was interviewed by Jeff Foxworthy on the radio this evening, and it was delightful in an unexpected way.  Find the recording, if you can.  They now plan to write a song together, as a result of the interview.  I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

Post-a-day 2017