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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Tough stuff

Just a curious thought that came up tonight – one which I have had many times before, thought usually only passively or, at least, without much depth of consideration – while at dinner: How are people within our society to learn to have healthy and successful and mutually satisfying physical and sexual relationships, as well as healthy relationships with alcohol?

When do we do anything real to teach our growing children and young adults (and any adults, really) this information, to give them concretes and explicit and specific information?

When do we create with them healthy relationships to the topics in the first place?

In my cave people era books, they talk about how females each had a unique ceremony, with a carefully selected older make, to give her the full experience of adult sexual intimacy…. there were people designated in different seasons who were to be guides for the growing adults to learn about sexual intimacy by voluntarily going to any of these people for the honest help and insight an older and more experienced individual could give.

I know these can easily go against various religious traditions of today…, though that does not change the fact that these were ways of helping people to build healthy sexual habits and relationships.

While avoidance has its pros, it also very much has its cons, one of which is the educational side of learning to have positive relationships to and using sexual interaction.

Do note: I’m not aiming to stir up any nonsense here – I’m just sharing the idea that came up tonight, and that I found very interesting and worth considering further.

Anyway, I see it very similarly with alcohol in the USA – we just don’t ever teach our children to have healthy relationships with alcohol, and yet we spring it on them in full power when they’re supposedly several years past being a legal adult, offering at no point any useful and practical guidance on how to approach and to have a healthy relationship with alcohol.

It doesn’t surprise me that we have so many issues regarding it, especially for the younger adults and teens… we ignore it and tell them to avoid it entirely, throwing them to the hungry lions on their 21st birthdays.

You know what I mean?

Post-a-day 2019

Unpaid, at last?

I realized today that right now is the perfect time for one of those necessary unpaid internships designed to get into a field of work.  I have a place to live, and am mostly provided food and water, and all without immediate cost to me.  And I have support from family to pursue what I feel is best.  I just need to keep up my end of the semi-agreement for the next toward a half (-ish) months, and I expect that the food and shelter will remain available to me at the same cost for quite some time… giving me the perfect opportunity to test out those jobs that have intrigued me, but would not offer money for the first little while of working in them.

We shall see..

 

Post-a-day 2017

Trying something old newly

Today, I was granted the opportunity I have so greatly desire these past few years to compete in a certain category of dancing.  Years ago, it was only normal for me to compete in this category, but then some mental things happened, I didn’t like where I stood with the category, and so I stopped.  Until I had a new perspective and relationship with it all, it was best that I not participate…, though I am only just now realizing the truth to this – at the time, I was just tired of my fear of rejection, and especially the seemingly constant unfortunate partnerships in which I ended up being.

So today, I had a beautiful and brief and clearly god-given chat with someone who gave me my new perspective.  There was barely ten minutes remaining for sign-ups for all competitions, though everyone was pretty much all signed up for everything desired at this point, and a guy near me suddenly turned to me and asked me if I were competing this weekend.

We talked about it.  I explained where I stood with perspective, including my desire for a new one, and he gave me his own perspective, and well as some on-the-spot thought-out ideas.  I was nervous, yet excited, as he accompanied me to the registration desk, and I registered myself for one category, and asked for help in finding a partner for the other category.

Thirty minutes later, I had my partner (who had already signed up, but just without a name for the parent, so we just added my name onto his registration), and I was even excited about competing.

When it came time for competition tonight, he and I had danced maybe four songs together total.  So our fifth ever song was in competition (and sixth and seventh).  I felt a bit meh about our performance, but I was okay with it – we had only just met, and I hadn’t really known the songs too well or at all, not was I in the habit any longer of competitive dancing.  So there were a million improvements to be made to meet just my own standards for making finals in a contest of this caliber.

Sure enough, my sentiments were validate when I  watched the videos of our dances – not bad, but not great either.  Just meh – average whatever mixed with good spurts here and there.  And so I didn’t much expect to make finals, leaving me comfortable with the resulting non-finals-making.  Yeah, it’s a bummer not to make finals.  And I want to be confidently in finals whenever I am in them, instead of being in them by surprise.  You know what I mean?  I want to deserve it without a doubt, as opposed to being mediocre and that being enough.

And so, I am happy that I competed. And tomorrow, I might not make finals either.  That one has been mentally harder for me on the past.  However, I think this is the perfect time and place for me to try it out, give it a go, and keep my head held high, all in preparation for future dancing events.  I want perfection of myself, and competition is a darn good way to work towards that.  I was reminded of that today.  Both parts of it.  So I no longer have to compete to win the competition, but can compete in an aim for my own perfection.  I mean, come on – who doesn’t want perfection when hundreds of people are quite obviously watching?  Hmm??  🙂
Post-a-day 2017