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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Inspiration flattened

Do you ever get all excited about doing something, and so do some research on the subject to see what others are currently doing for it, and then become utterly downtrodden about it, because what you find is so good that you kind of don’t even want to bother going for it yourself?

Yeah… I might be experiencing that right now with photography… rather than inspiring me, the awesomely successful work of others just makes me feel like I’ll never be good enough, and so why even bother trying?

I know there’s more to it than that – especially, but not only, the fact that no one will bring to the table quite what I will bring, and I never will bring to the table what anyone else brings, because we are all different people… and that is a good thing – it grows rather boring rather quickly when everyone does the same exact thing…

I think I just need to feel the depressiveness of this right now, so that I can let it all go by morning. 😛

Yep… that’s it.

Here’s to inspiration and self-confidence – huzzah!

(lolz! [genuinely laughing at myself right now for the huzzah – I love when I be me]) 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Today

Things about today:

  1. I finished another Malcolm Gladwell book, Outliers, and, naturally, feel like a total genius, totally inspired (as is the usual with his books).
  2. I cried multiple times and about various things, and I was okay with that.
  3. Someone told me that a someone is coming for me, sometime soon, within the next few years, and that that someone will love and respect and appreciate and value the beauty of a human being that I am and will show it in a way that I actually get to experience my immense value and beauty in the world.
  4. I want to believe him, and not other people, who say that perhaps I’ll never have a someone like that in my life (not in a negative way, but just a ‘there isn’t somebody for everybody, and you might be one of those everybodys with no somebody’ way).
  5. I was reminded that I desperately love languages, as well as teaching.
  6. I remembered, too, that I want to do more in my daily than just teach school classes.
  7. I wrote out all of this, before meditating/praying/playing music, and then going to sleep.

Post-a-day 2018

Be better for myself

Those late nights when I’m desperate for a movie before bed, and I have an early morning the next day… when I don’t watch a movie, but do something else beautiful, like play uke or guitar before my bedtime reading, and then just go to sleep…, those nights are each a success.

Depression has this sneaky way of, well, sneaking up from normally-no-big-deal things, like watching a good film, and taking hold before I’m even fully conscious of it…

And so those nights when desperation longs for a film, and I do not give in, and I do do something good for myself, are key to my being the happy, healthy, holy person I want to be (and know that I truly am on the inside).

Post-a-day 2018

Sing away the sickness

It feels as though an absence of music in my life is a sign of an absence of delight.

When there is so much happening, that I do not take the time for music – either listening or playing – it usually results that I am stressed and haggard and, quite likely, too, sick.

No surprise that I haven’t had any music lately, and I haven’t played guitar or ukulele in a while…., and no surprise that I’ve been stuck with an icky cold for over a week and a half…, because I’ve been so stressed and strained with various topics in my life, I haven’t taken the time to take care of myself.

I haven’t taken the time to have music, one of the deepest joys of my heart.

Perhaps, if I had music for myself every day, I might never get sick… there’s likely some study about that anyway, where music makes the body healthier (not to mention improved brain function on the whole).

Well, I’ve been doing what I consider to be a very good job, as of late, feeding myself and preparing food for myself…. now to add music in there every day.

I wonder if I can really do it… can I see myself as really being worth that effort and time?? (I’m still only halfway there with the good food preparation mentality…)

But I think it is a good time to give it a go, so I’ll go for it… music every day… for myself…, because I not only need but deserve it.

Okay.

…Crazy how this scares me somehow…

Post-a-day 2018

Taking Steps

A step count isn’t only good when it’s a really high number…

You see, I not only took 25,000 steps (FitBit on the ankle to track them) today, but – and these are likely a bigger deal than those 25,000 – I took two big steps for myself and my life.

And it is way late at night right now for me just to have gotten home, but it has been a good day… a very good day. 🙂

And I am grateful dafür.

Post-a-day 2018

A letter from my past self

The following is the transcription of a letter I found this week.  (Yes, it was in one of the boxes of papers and folders and such.)  I wish I had found it months ago, when I’d first returned from Japan.  However, it still did me loads of good when I read it the other day.  While I missed out on some bits it mentions, I actually did a really good job of fulfilling most of the tasks prescribed in it… a version of them, anyway.

Anyway, it is a letter I wrote to myself when I was still on my college campus, about to leave to study abroad in Germany and Austria.  As per standards of our school’s study abroad program, we all had to write our future selves a letter, which would be mailed to us upon our return from our study abroad programs.  I fully acknowledge that mine is full of grammatical errors, but that was part of why I was going abroad anyway – to improve my language skills.  Also, the whole letter is written in cursive, because I do that.  The third sentence actually caused me to tear up, and the fourth had me crying.  It’s amazing how right I was, and I really didn’t know that I ever would be in the current situation in which I find myself.

……………………

10. April 2012
Dienstag

Hannah Leigh, chèrie,

Ich weiss nicht, was muss ich dir sagen.  Ich kenne dich nicht, weil du so viel gechanged hast.  Welcome home – may it still feel that way to you.  You are forever welcome here, so remember that – you might need it some day.  Okay, here’s what I want you to do:

1) Go record it.  Get on your computer, write up any questions
you would love for others to ask, & then record yourself
answering them.  Then you can do what you want with
it all, but you will have that satisfaction, that completeness,
wholeness of having shared what you needed, desired, wanted
to share.

2) Talk to people.  Make a quick list of what specifically you already
have wanted to share with whom.  Call each person & set up when
& where you will share what you have to share.  Share with them.

3) Talk to Opa.  No matter where he is, go visit him & talk with
him completely in German.

4) Find someone local with whom you can be open, close, & frank, & speak
only German (or completely German) together with ease.

5) Remember that it’s all right not to “know” who you are.  Knowing
makes no difference, anyway, so no good reason to bother with it.
Look yourself in the mirror & see all that has passed, & be open to
all that will come.

6) You are woman & you create the universe with your being.  Your
power is endless, & it is selfless love that feels it.  Love your
mother & your Mother.  Love your self wholly, & your next
step will become available and visible to you.

7) Be at peace.  Even if it was &/or is hard, it is all relative.
Take it for the beneficial experience that it is, & enjoy every
bit you have gotten & will get from it all.

8) Now & every time you see that it just might possibly help,
take a deep breath & close your eyes, letting your thoughts
run around & then calm naturally as you breathe deeply.

I love you & I wish you all the best.  I am here with you always, though I will now be transformed from the time I wrote this letter.  My understanding & my love have only increased & expanded, I promise.  You are wonderful.  You are beautiful.  You are mine.

I love you.  Love me, too.
❤ Peace       Hannah Leigh

 

P.S. Pretend I pressed a flower in here to give you a wholesome smile & kiss.  🙂 oxox

…………………………………………………..

Post-a-day 2018