When Hairy Met Sally…?

Happy Friday, Folks!  Get ready for an odd yet beautiful adventure of learning to be comfortable with one’s body.  😀

A dear friend of mine (check out her aMazing shop!, by the way) shared with me a few years ago a unique article she had found about female empowerment.  It was on coloring underarm hair, and argued that coloring one’s underarm hair was something every woman must do at least once in her life, and the author included her own adventure of growing out and dyeing her underarm hair.  I was a bit iffy on it, but I listened to my friend and eventually read the article myself.

The idea seemed funny, and ever so slightly scary to me at first.  I knew that society and culture would not approve of such behavior, and, therefore, by participating in such behavior, I might risk my experience of belonging to and being accepted by and being loved by many of those around me in life.  Certain people would be no big deal – like my mom and my best friend – but I know a lot of people would struggle with wanting to be around me, if I were to pursue such a thing.  Even my mom would accept me, I knew, but I also knew that she would dislike it and likely would complain to me about my hair on a regular bases.  People just don’t approve of women having underarm hair, so having it would be taboo.  Leg hair has been on the rise for women – think hipster generation – but the underarm hair situation is still too closely associated with dirtiness, uncleanliness.

Now, upon reading the article, these were the automatic thoughts I had, right?

Well, I had these thoughts, plus one other: I critiqued the way the author took on the task.  Somehow, I can’t seem to view almost anything in life without automatically looking for a way of improving upon it, whatever it is.  It is not that I disapprove of the person sharing or of the task or anything – I just have this inner aim always to do things in the best way possible… don’t do anything half-a****, you know?

So, anyway, my biggest qualm was that the author only suggested to grow out the underarm hair for a couple or few weeks, which isn’t very long for an area with such little hair.  And so, her hot-pink-dyed underarm hair, rather than looking crazy and cool, ended up looking just kind of patchy and not-so-vibrant – more like a child had drawn on her underarms spottily with a washable pink marker, than that she had hot pink hair under there.

If you’re going to do it, at least do it right, I thought.

Do it for real.

Now, I believe that I had read this article before I moved to Japan.  Fast-forward to my time in Japan.  While I was living in Japan, for various reasons, my already loose desire to bother with shaving decreased to a point of being almost non-existent.  It had all started in early, early Fall, after I’d had an accident at the beach, and gotten my legs all scratched up.  I had scabs on my shins, and so couldn’t really shave them anyway.  By the time I could shave them again, it was already winter weather out, and I wasn’t even seeing my legs very often (because it was so darn cold all the time), so I wasn’t exactly going to put forth the effort to shave, when I couldn’t even see the results more than in the shower…  After that, after winter, I was just so accustomed to not shaving that it was the new norm for me.  What’s more, my leg hair was light enough in the first place that most people couldn’t see it, except under certain circumstances (e.g. sitting with my leg within a foot or two of one’s face), and it was by propriety’s requirements that none of my work clothes exposed my underarms, no matter the time of year.  So it was easy not to bother with shaving, especially considering my lack of interest in it in the first place.  And so, in essence, I gave up shaving while living in Japan.  (A good friend of mine laughed at me one day when I commented casually, “I’ve kind of given up shaving,” as though it were a bad habit I had kicked.  But it was true, because I unintentionally had given up on bothering with it.)

(**Note: In high school, I asked my boyfriend if it bothered him that I didn’t shave my legs, and if he would prefer that I shave my legs – I did shave regularly my underarms back then, just fyi – and he told me that it didn’t bother him.  I think I gave him an appraising look at the time, but I let it go.  Eventually, of course, I uncovered this untruth when he said near summertime that he would shave his legs – something he had done usually for swim team every summer with his buddies, anyway – if I shaved mine…  Not a good feeling.  And not the only time he wasn’t open about seemingly small things that actually really bothered me… hmm… Anyway, that isn’t the point here.  The point is that I would be fine shaving my legs if someone important to me wanted me to shave, but I haven’t cared to do it for myself for years now…. and almost ever, actually, since that first time or two of doing it, once at around age 12, just out of interest, and then again for a second first time near the end of high school…  Anyway, moving onward…)

Before going to Japan, I had challenged my own fear of having underarm hair – I had wanted to be comfortable with my own body, and I knew that underarm hair was a point of extreme discomfort for me.  My best friend shared with me how she would be present with her own body every morning in the mirror, just experiencing and accepting what her raw, unclothed self was.  The idea stressed me, to say the least – I could barely consider how it might be to be so vulnerable, even to my own eyes.  And so, I knew I needed to do some work on my level of comfort with my own body, with my own nudity.

Slowly, but surely, I did this work… I learned to accept and to see my body, undressed, and even to embrace what my physical composition and presence were in this world.  And, one aspect of this work was allowing my underarm hair to grow – I absolutely did not want to have long underarm hair.  But it was almost from fear that I avoided having the hair, and so I knew it wasn’t a positive situation as it stood, and it needed to change, to transform.

At first, I did a few weeks at a time, and then shaved everything off, typically to wear some outfit with short or no sleeves, and to revel in my finally-smooth-again skin.  I always felt relieved when I had shaved my underarms, but it was less and less stressful every time the hair grew out again.  I wasn’t showing the hair off in any way, but I had to be with the hair.  I had to feel the hair and to see it and to know that it was there… all the time.  And that stressed me out less and less every week that passed.

Eventually, after several months of no shaving, I shared my project with a few friends.  After warnings that they might not be able to see me the same way, I showed them my underarm hair – a seemingly silly situation, but they genuinely cared about the mental, emotional, and psychological project I was doing for myself, and so I was comfortable being open with them about it, despite my still not particularly enjoying having all the hair.  They received it easily and well, and even found the humorous side of it all with me. 😛  They were enthralled at my project and empowered by my drive to pursue such an uncomfortable situation for myself.

After that, it was even easier for me.

By the time I moved to Japan, I already was past the project of testing, and instead just went through phases of shaving versus not, simply out of laziness.  I was comfortable going most places in a tank top, even when I had some hair that would be visible if I raised my arms.  I mostly didn’t wear tank tops, though – men could wear them and show their underarm hair, and so I felt it could be the same for me, but I also didn’t want to be dancing with a guy in a tank top who keeps lifting his arms in my face…, so I didn’t do that either, when circumstances would involve lots of arms being raised.  Basically, if I knew my arms would be in the air a lot, I didn’t go the tank top route.  Otherwise, on an average day, I was mostly okay with the tank top.  Plus, in Japan, anyway, I knew I wasn’t fitting in in the first place, and I likely wasn’t going to cross most any of these people again, so it was extra no big deal. All-in-all it was an easy happening in Japan for me to give up shaving, without even thinking much about it.

(My mother hated it, of course, and never stopped complaining about it, but she clearly still loved me, so I was okay with it.  She even teased me about it and made very funny jokes from time to time.)

Thus, months later, back in the US, these casual shots of me embracing my body and its natural occurrences (read hair):

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**Note the lack of brassiere here.  It was also a huge part of my learning to embrace my body and to be comfortable with it as it is naturally.

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And so, thinking about this article from my friend post-Japan, and how the author just hadn’t done it right, I considered how I might go about doing it, if I were to do it.

Several months later, when my hair had definitely hit its longest point and had, for the most part, plateaued, I pulled out my long-since selected color, and got to work.

The color I had selected was going to be bland on its own, I expected, because my underarm hair isn’t quite as light as my head hair, and so ends up looking more brown-ish than blonde, when it is so compacted together.  Seeing as how I was going for brightness by adding the color in the first place, I lightened the hair first, and then added the color, thereby allowing for a much brighter color than otherwise would have happened.  I wanted a bit of pop, not a bit of washable marker.

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And so, we have the results of a three-ish-year self-project gone silly:

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And that was already almost a year ago, now.  I did not stop working on myself and my body, and so have reached an even more beautiful point with things than I ever had imagined to be possible back then.

Where do things stand for me now?

I strongly encourage everyone to give it a go, men and women and + alike, both growing out the underarm hair past the point of comfort and then also coloring it.

I shave my underarms semi-regularly, because I end up going shirtless at the gym a lot, and, though I had toyed with the idea of laser hair removal for them for quite a while and didn’t actually expect ever to do it, when a super sale popped up a couple months ago at the laser hair removal place (bikini line and lower legs, you see), I accepted.  I don’t shave my legs, except for the night before my laser hair removal appointment every so many weeks.  It was the same with bikini line, but I’ve finished the treatments there, so I don’t even have that shaving to do anymore.

I am not afraid of my hair.  I have found, however, that I genuinely prefer the skin being smooth and soft, and wiry-hair-free… and I hold the same feeling for men.  I love admiring a man’s muscled yet shaved legs.  Same with his underarms – the underarm hair is a distraction, not a benefit.

I do not require shaving, and I am not afraid of the hair – I just prefer life without the hair.  Even on my own legs, I love running my hands on them when they are hair-free, be it for rubbing in lotion, rubbing sore muscles, or just for fun, and I love seeing the color of my skin clearly.  When I began the laser hair removal, I verified that only the darker, thicker hairs would go away – I was informed that the baby blonde hairs would stay always and forever, and that was the point that sold me on the treatments.

And so, here I stand today, covered in invisible hairs, and unafraid of the darker underarm hair that I grow out entirely out of laziness.  I am glad I won’t even have to consider it anymore, after the next year-ish, and I do not mind letting it go, now that it isn’t out of avoidance or fear, but out of preference.

I am comfortable in my body’s natural state, hair and fat and all.  Though I have preferences of how I want my body to be, I am at ease with what happens naturally in my body.  This does not mean that I don’t care for my body, because I very much do care for it and take care of it with exercise and wonderful eating.  I finally am starting to treat my body like the goddess and temple that it is.

And I am so grateful for the experiences that have led me to this point, and that remind me that I am perfect as I am, hair and all.

So, thanks for the hair, God, and thank you for the growth* that came with it directly, as well as the transformation that has sprouted out of my desire to pursue that specific area of discomfort.

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Yippee!  And Happy Growing!  ;D

*(pun and all) 😉

P.S.  Special thanks to my lovely cousins A—- and J—- for helping me with the photos, as well as my wonderful friend N—-!  Love you ladies!

Post-a-day 2019

And another thing…

Continuing on last night’s thoughts, I remember this morning another awesome quality about me:

I ride a Vespa.

And I ride a powerful Vespa.

And it is bright red.

And I ride it because I like it and because it helps save the planet and because it is cost efficient and quite inexpensive when compared to a car – actually, it is quite inexpensive period… even my insurance is about eight US dollars a month – and because I am a user of public transportation and used to use my bicycle to get around town, so it was a semi-natural step for me to have a Vespa…

Just another simple thing for the list of my super awesome qualities…

Just saying…

😉

Post-a-day 2020

“The oven looked awesome and so did I”

I asked him why he took the photo, and he replied honestly,

The oven looked awesome and so did I hahaha 🤷🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

He, of course, corrected “oven” to “ocean”, but I knew what he meant.

He was not being conceited, nor was he being rude or nasty or macho or anything else negative… he was sharing truly with me, openly and honestly.

It was a gorgeous photo of a gorgeous swimsuit-donned, tanned, and tattooed man on a spectacular scene of two-toned blue ocean water and a blue sky of yet another blue, and the man was smiling with practically no eyes, so large and true was his grin.

I would have longed to have taken such a photo – I would be proud of it for him…, but I would be terrified of such a photo of myself.

To come across as sexual, even sexy, at times, has been ingrained in my mind to equate wrongness, shame, something terrible for myself and the world.

I have only recently begun to appreciate such images of others, and am working on valuing such an image of myself – in accepting it as appropriate as part of my human expression in this life.

My next step in that process, I feel, is being comfortable with a photo like the one I had discussed with this guy tonight.

As he mentioned in our conversation, the intention behind the photo was to show something beautiful – his father had declared the scene and the son as gorgeous, and so photographed what stood before him (as I gladly would have done)… he was not trying to catch anyone’s eye, or get anything out of it – he was just sharing the wonderful memory and scene with the world (for which I and everyone else I know who has seen the photo have been grateful).

So, I want to create some photos of me that are beautifully gorgeous and that I would want to share with the world for their beauty, and then I want to share them with the world.

Yes…, that is my next step. 😛

Let’s do this. 🙂

P.S. Our whole conversation began out of a conversation my friend and I had, regarding our shared experiences of body image (though from different backgrounds and for different reasons), after she posted this, which included a somewhat sultry photo of her posing on the beach.

She is still Christian, and more beautiful than ever in her confidence…, and I regularly use her as inspiration in my own life, to help me to challenge my own fears and struggles in life that I have yet to transform.

Post-a-day 2019

Stretchy

Yesterday, sitting on the floor, legs together straight out in front of me, I stretched forward with both arms, grabbed the bottoms of my shoes, dropped my head, and stretched a bit deeper…

… and my head touched my knees.

!!!!!

This was the first time in my adult life that I was able to touch my head to my knees.

And, you know what?

I just tested it again, just now, and it happened again(!).

Wow.

I started this ’30 Days to a Standing Split’ stretch plan a couple months back, and, though it totally failed on the standing split part, I felt the basic stretch routine was a good habit worth keeping in my daily life.

So, to this day, I stretch the same set of stretches every day, usually just before bed.

I’d been noticing general and overall improved flexibility and movability in myself already, like my arms going ‘farther back and up’ when I stretched them behind my back, hands clasped, but I hadn’t had anything clearly and distinctly different until this week.

At last, with this head to knees thing, I have a specific, measurable result from this stretching(!).

So, extra yay!

My teeth are straightening out their kinks, my muscles are rearranging and growing, and my flexibility is improving drastically… I feel like moving around a lot of the time, and I jump up rather easily from any resting period in my day or night… getting out of bed is, somehow, no big deal – I almost bounce on the balls of my feet every morning, as though preparing to do some jumps or something similar…

My body is finally showing up how I want it to be showing up in my life, and I can see quite clearly how it is the result of my taking genuine care of my body, and having true concern for its well-being… it still is not quite like a temple, but it is darn close, and is improving every week… (still working on the whole exfoliation and skin hydration side of things) 😛

Now, if I can just get my clothes and owned items organized and handled (i.e. Marie Kondo the rest of my living space) I think I’ll be set to meet the man of my dreams – I will be being exactly the person I want to be and to whom I want him to be attracted, you know?

And, somehow, that idea is kind of terrifying… like I never actually expected to become that person, that woman… she was always just a dream, and not one even to consider trying to achieve, let alone actually achieving…. but anything is possible.

Message to self:

So, let’s stick with it, Banana, and make things happen.

It is okay to be afraid… it is not okay to settle, even if it is due to fear… stand for your best life and your best self, Banana, in all ways, always.

I love you.

Have a wonderful and blessed and beloved night, World. 😉

P.S. I just realized that the stretching was actually Monday evening, not yesterday… anyway… 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Before and Later(?)

My brother mentioned for me to do a before and after photo of myself, to show how my future self has progressed physically from this new gym deal that my friend and I are doing.

My initial thought was a worried sort of, “No.”

I worried of having a photo exist that shows my current bodily state, up close and personal…I’m doing this exercise, because 1)I have a goal for my body fitness, and 2)I am not even comfortable anymore with how my body had engrossened, shall we say, lately.

If it were only the first reason, the photos would be great…, but the second reason is a big reason against the photos – I don’t want any more visual memory of my current state than I already will have in my mind from my own eyes’ direct and mirror viewing.

I considered that, perhaps, the gym could find it useful to share with people considering the workout, showing how drastic a positive change even my current body shaping could have.

I have people not understand why I feel so out of fitness – ‘You are Not fat,’ they regularly tell me.

I don’t disagree with them; I just mention that I have much more fat on my body than I want to have, and I also sometimes mention that I have much less muscle than I prefer having.

And then I see that I kind of want to be able to compare myself down the road, so I can be proud of my results, and even more so since I’d have side-by-side photos to show the progress…

But perhaps I could just measure things, have a brief written numbers account of how body parts are…

I don’t know… there are faults with that, too… ideally, I would do numbers and photos…

But I also don’t feel like hassling with it…. neither for the physical effort of actually doing it nor for the mental effort and strain of constantly thinking about how the numbers might have changed (probably every single day, at least a couple times a day, if I know myself… which, I do)…

So, perhaps I’ll just leave it… I’m already a week at six workouts into it, anyway, so this wouldn’t even be from the very beginning if I did a photo now…

We’ll see… I need to make sure I do or do not for the reason of what I want, and not for a reason based on fear… you know?

Yeah… we’ll see how I feel about it tomorrow…

Post-a-day 2019

More than just a physical workout

Today was my second day as a member of this CrossFit gym. My friend and I – we signed up together – have schedules that don’t align for workouts today and tomorrow, so we’re going to separate classes on both days, as will be the case going forward, whenever our schedules don’t align (that is, we both must and will go on the same day, at least three days a week, just not always at the same time… sure, there will be times where this doesn’t work out, but it is our strong intention to stick with it as absolutely best as is possible). Therefore, I went to the midday class on my own today. It was hot out, in the eighties, and I was tired… I had helped this same friend put together her new television stand and television last night after our late dinner together after class, and then I had to be up rather early this morning. Plus, of course, I had done the actual workout yesterday evening in the first place, and I was still a bit sore from the test class we’d done on Thursday evening. Altogether, I was hot, tired, and alone on my own. But I was there, and I knew it was exactly where I wanted and needed to be – everything was perfect in this. I was even nervous, because I’m new at it and don’t quite know how things work at least half the time; I’d even said we felt like lost puppies the other evening, as we tried figuring out what was going on in the middle of the class. 😛 Anyway, continuing onward…

So, I’m there on my own. I also happen to be rather un-strong right now – not that I’m weak, but I’m nowhere near as strong as I have been much accustomed to being throughout my life. And I have a good amount of fat on my body that I want to go away. In fact, I have wanted it to go away for years, but it has, instead, increased ever so slowly these past few years or so, with the occasional drop of most of it, and then the returning slow increase. You see, I can’t ever stick with it… I always hit a point where I can’t stand the fat an low fitness level, and so I do something about it. Whenever I hit a certain level of fitness and fat reduction, I always end up stopping… not from exhaustion or annoyance or anything, but from a thought that comes up of, “That’s (good) enough for now,” with a hint of something like fear behind it.

I shall return to this thought after explaining more from the class today (that is, you will figure out its relevance in just a bit).

Pushing through the workout, doing all that I could, my body shaking throughout about half of the workout, due to the struggle, I found myself in almost constant tears. I methodically reassured myself (when I was alone on the running section each time) both inside my head and aloud, that this is perfect that I am here… I can’t do this, and that is why I am here… I am meant to be here… This is perfect… This is exactly where I belong… This is where I need to be right now… This is where I need to be… This is perfect…

Over and over again, I repeated the varying versions of the idea that I was exactly where I needed to be, while acknowledging that it was difficult to do the workout (without degrading in any way), all the while crying.

When I finished the last bit, I stayed lying on the bench for about thirty seconds or so, because the tears were so strong, my body was even convulsing with a few hearty sobs as I rested my arms on top of me in a sort of relaxed hug… I let it out, so I could let it go.

And then I wiped off my tears, got up, and started cleaning up everything that I had used, reminding myself that this is perfect.

I didn’t talk to anyone initially… just the bare minimum of how long it took me, and then nods to say that I was, in fact, okay… avoiding the part where I didn’t know what I even could say, let alone would say, if talking were required.

As I put away the last thing, the bar I had used, the girl (lady) I’d met at the beginning said something to me. I don’t remember if it was a question about the workout, or merely encouragement, but there eventually came a point at which I went ahead and shared a little with her. Taking it slowly, and eventually having the tears start pouring out (but not as badly as they could have been had I not taken it slowly), I told her how a lot was coming up for me in this… My having always been one of the top performers in almost any and every sport I did growing up and as a younger adult, and suddenly being on the other end of it all, I felt like the fat kid – this workout was hard for me in places that things had never before been hard for me… My life direction and style and goals having begun and finally done a sort of plunge into a drastically different direction, terrifying me ever so slightly but intensely… The regular stresses of life, combined with the raccoons and the fleas… and, most importantly and intensely, that I am actually taking on for real getting my body to the physical fitness level and look I so long to have.

This last one may not seem like much, but it is. I told her how I had kind of hit a point of being afraid of being a beautiful female body, and that I started to shy away from the idea, aiming for the less feminine versions of clothing and such. She (appropriately) asked if something happened to me, and (appropriately) acknowledged that it wasn’t that something had to have happened to me – she just wondered if any incident had played a role in that, since it so often does, especially for women.

And, surprisingly, – but also not surprisingly, since I’ve been working on being my true self and being self-expressed truly – I told her that Yeah, I kind of did. It wasn’t exactly the catalyst of it all, – I had already started feeling uncomfortable with being womanly and all. But it did act as a strong encouragement that I was right, and that it is bad to be womanly and sexy. I even shared a bit of details that were relevant, remaining comfortable and confident in myself the whole time.

I recently had a long and tough and beautiful conversation with my best friend about my own incident, and I completed what I needed through that conversation – whatever I needed addressed or said or acknowledge, happened, and my feeling of being trapped by the incident was, after years of avoidance and mental pain and struggle hiding in the back of my mind, finally disappeared… I could see it as something that happened, and was able to talk about it fully at last. I don’t mean each and every detail, of course, but the experience itself and anything that was particularly heavy on me suddenly lost their power and weight in my mind. And my recent efforts to find the kind of exercise I want to do, and then finding the right gym to do it once I’d found the exercise, all came out of this conversation I’d had with my best friend near the end of last year.

And today, all on my own, knowing fully that I am in this at least through September – already paid of through then, essentially – and that I am guaranteed spectacular results by then (especially since it usually only takes about three months to see massive results, anyway, here), was a somewhat terrifying experience and feeling. I’ve spent so long, so many years, convinced to my core that I must avoid these exact results I am not actively seeking. I must not become an object that might be desired sexually… But my recent experiences of wanting to be able (eventually, anyway) to have that experience of not only wanting to desire a man, but of wanting that man to desire me… now those already have been huge, and were formerly unthinkable… but now they actually have a chance to happen one day soon…, and that is so scary to the terrified girl I had grown so accustomed to being inside my head.

But I want this. And I can finally see clearly enough to believe that it truly is okay for me to want it. I want my partner in life to want me in every way, and vice versa…and physically is one of those ways. And I shared this all with her.

And then she shared about her own miserable incident… and how she struggled to get to where she is today – happily married and comfortable with her body and going after amazing fitness, even showing off her body in her workout clothes (not inappropriately at all, but quite flatteringly and tastefully, I dare say) – and that she agrees with me that this is the perfect place for me to be with this. The community is wonderful at this gym – yes, there are physical beasts of men, but not one of them is anything less than a wonderful human being. And, by the way, ‘I didn’t dress like this when I first started coming here,’ she told me, smiling knowingly as I smiled and chuckled in my loose and somewhat baggy t-shirt and shorts. A hint of her midriff was showing, her top was sleeveless, and her shorts were mid-thigh and exercise style snug… it looked great and showed off her muscles modestly, but well.

As we were leaving, she told me that she regularly attends that class, clearly encouraging me to return and to see her as a willing friend of sorts. It felt good. And in a way I’m not sure I’ve known in quite a long time.

Post-a-day 2019

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