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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Moving forward well

As I pursue each day a little bit more of those things I dream about and desperately want to become my reality (though am totally terrified of having become my reality, because, let’s be real, how could I be able and worthy of being that awesome?), I somehow feel a sense of calm and comfort settling over and around and through me and my life.

Preparing for bed at night, I have feelings of excitement and delight – subtle as they are, they are there.

Things are still kind of a mess around me in my life (even physically, for that matter, because I haven’t even finished moving in entirely), but everything somehow feels right – it is all moving comfortably in the direction it feels like it is all meant to go.

Imagine how nice things look when traffic moves perfectly, cars zooming along together in their designated lanes and directions, as though they are designed to do just that…

Even better, imagine those blood cells zooming through our veins, perfectly comfortable, and not even needing to be confident, for they have no reason to doubt their task and/or their ability to complete it – they were made for this, and they are doing it.

That’s how these pieces of my life feel now, and more and more of them keep jumping on the train of properly purposeful movement in their natural flow directions… as I breathe and am nourished, so they move and are bountiful, comfortable, going and at ease.

Post-a-day 2019

Temping…

I am Mr. Sneebly… again.

The question this time around, though, is one of what sort of outcome I’d like from doing all of this substitute teaching…. a question I had never expected I would have to be asking myself again, let alone being totally unsure of the answer… or even leaning in the opposite direction from the last time…

Post-a-day 2018

Hot commodity/mess

Have you ever been a hot commodity?

It’s somewhat of a newer experience for me, though, in this particular situation, I’ve been of a similar status for quite a while.

The thing about it is that, it’s wonderful when those I want taking advantage of my presence are there to take advantage, and no one I don’t particularly want taking advantage of my presence gets in the way…

But it never really goes that way, now does it?

When everyone appreciates one’s value, everyone wants to benefit from that value…

And I do give back loads…, but, sometimes, I just want to go out and enjoy myself, and not bother with all of the newer, inexperienced folk expending my energy.

Of course, and then I run the risk of being considered utterly snobby, thinking myself above everyone else.

However, especially recently, I am starting to understand why so many people have given up trying not to seem snobby… it just takes too much effort to care what so many people think when, just every once in a while, they want to have some fun for themselves, not have to have things be a helping-out, volunteer-y time.

Yeah, I get that now… no wonder so many of them seem so stuck-up…

So, while I love having my talent and skills, it’s not always great being a hot commodity, when people’s feelings and opinions are so easily injured.

Those are my thoughts to share for tonight. 🙂

(Good luck with your own hot commodity situations ;))

Post-a-day 2018

Stick with it, hon’

Sometimes, it feels like either everything or nothing comes my way.  For quite some time, I have had a lot of nothing seeking me out, but I always had this feeling about how, ‘In June, I will know.’  I don’t know where I got the idea and phrase – call it divine inspiration, if you will – but it just came to me one day as an answering thought to my wondering about what my next step in life and work will be.  As though in a conversation, when one person responds to another’s question or concern, the thought appeared in my mind.

And so, I have put forth my efforts in what I have been doing, as well as stayed open-minded for what could be next for me.  Now, here I am, so close to June, and it looks like I have a whole handful of solid possibilities for what might be next in my life.  I hadn’t even realized how close to June it is, when I realized today how crazy it is, that I suddenly have what feels like a hundred opportunities knocking at my door.

Just as I had done earlier in the year, I will persist in pursuing these beautiful ideas and options that have come my way.  In doing so, perhaps, in June I will know which one or ones are part of my next semester in life.

Post-a-day 2018

What’s your nerd field?

Today, my cousin compared my lesson planning talk with that of her brother’s talk about trees.  You see, he, her brother (and my cousin), got really into trees, and studied forestry at Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, Texas.  He used to talk about toy cars and action figures, and even eventually video games, too, like a little nerdy kid who is somewhat obsessed and awed by the specific toys and all that they can do/represent, as well as all of their background information.  You couldn’t really get him to shut up about the toys when he was little, or the video games when he was around high school aged.  In college, this talk turned to being about trees.  He even named his dog after “his favorite tree species”.

So, now, fast forward to today.  My cousin, the forestry cousin’s older sister, said to me that my teacher talk about lesson ideas and planning lessons – and this is about any topic, be it actual foreign language teacher, which I actually did for high schools, or dance lessons, or my art & yoga classes, or whatever teaching opportunity I might have – reminds her exactly of her brother and his tree talk.

Does that not say something distinct and pointed about me and teaching?  😛  Clearly I like it.  (I also happen to be very good at it, it turns out.  Total blessing, and I am incredibly grateful for it.)

‘Okay, but I’m not going to get a dog and name it Lesson Plan,’ I laughingly retort.
After a slight pause for inhale, she replies, ‘Hannah…, I could see you coming up with a more creative and better way to name the dog Lesson Plan.’
‘You say that…’
‘Oh, did you think I was joking?  Because…’
‘No.  You say that, and I know that you aren’t joking.’

I was just worried that I really might be that nerdy about it, because I could totally see myself doing something that silly somewhere down the road.  😛

Post-a-day 2018