Surreal Artwork by Beth Hoeckel

Surreal Artwork by Beth Hoeckel

Beth Hoeckel: HOME

Surreal Artwork by Beth Hoeckel

I grew up in a pretty scientific family…my mom and dad both in the medical field, my dad and sister both being huge astronomy buffs, and several of my childhood friends introducing me to geology, microbiology, marine biology, entomology, botany…jeez, you name it. I thought I’d definitely be a scientist when I grew up. My dad introduced me to computers at a young age (with the internet and AOL supervised when it was a new thing of course) so that threw me into the tech field, to where I am now as a web developer. But my fascination with discovery and the natural world hasn’t died…not in the least bit! With life tending to get more and more complicated and challenging as we grow older, the childhood innocence and time we had to pursue those fascinations we had becomes more and more nostalgic…I long for it a lot sometimes. So, when I read my regularly scheduled email from Fab.com, I was immediately drawn to these beautiful art prints on sale by Beth Hoeckel!

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Fall Denim from prAna

Fall Denim from prAna

prAna Kara jean in Deep Teal and Raisin

Fall Denim from prAna

During the summer months and festival season all the brights and neons emerge from closets everywhere and paint the streets in a rainbow of hues. As the colder temperatures arrive and the Fall hits, autumn brings on toned down, more earthy shades of green, blue, burgundy, brown and black as our tables are decorated with half-dead maple leaves to remember what we are thankful for…and the denim world blooms again with an array of colors to strut our stuff in. prAna, the 22-year old yoga/outdoor/lifestyle brand reflects the changing seasons with their Kara jean, available in burgundy, teal, black, herringbone and washed-denim versions. I actually didn’t know prAna had denim, even though I’ve admired their yogawear for awhile now…and I’m kind of really looking forward to checking these out!

Speaking of sustainability and eco-friendly clothing companies (in reference to a few of my previous posts), prAna is a great example of one. prAna was born in 1992 in Carlsbad, California, and is one of the biggest clothing companies who stand by staying as earth-friendly and fair trade as possible. In addition to using organic cotton and recycled materials, they are in partnership with bluesign, which provides sustainable and chemical free textiles. prAna also helped found Fair Trade Certified and was the first major company in the United States to produce and sell Fair Trade Certified products. They also have switched to more sustainable energy usage which “has cut greenhouse gas emissions to the tune of 71,961 metric tons – the same as taking 13,180 cars off the road or protecting 16,355 acres of forest.”

The Kara jean is a low rise, stretch 5-pocket jean with a 79% Cotton, 19% Polyester, 2% Spandex fabric blend. Apparently these are a best selling item, and I think I can see why…they sure look comfy, and coming from a yoga apparel brand? Psshh. Yeah I definitely need these in my life. I’m craving that herringbone print!

Fall Denim from prAna

prAna Kara Jean in Black, Herringbone, and Denim

Read more about prAna here.

Shop the prAna Kara jean here!

G-Star RAW For The Oceans Launch

G-Star RAW For The Oceans Launch

RAW For The Oceans Denim Bomber Jacket and Bomber Jacket

G-Star RAW For The Oceans Launch

Not long ago I posted about a much-anticipated collaboration that one of my favorite denim brands, G-Star RAW, had up its sleeves, called RAW For The Oceans. As a quick refresher, singer Pharrell Williams is the brand ambassador for Bionic Yarn, which specializes in creating a Bionic® eco-thread made out of recycled plastics that were previously floating around our world’s oceans. In collaboration with The Vortex Project, which was founded to “clean up shorelines and oceans, boost new technologies and turn ocean plastic into smart consumer products to create funding and awareness,” Bionic Yarn and G-Star RAW teamed up to create RAW For The Oceans, a collection made from these recycled plastics! I am excited that this collection is now available, and I’m liking what I see! After doing two reviews for G-Star RAW denim, I already know about their amazing attention to innovation and quality.

At first I thought this collection was going to feature only denim, but denim only makes up a small part of it! RAW For The Oceans features a wide range of tee shirts, hats, hoodies, jackets, sweatshirts, and of course denim. There is a cool balance between men’s and women’s items, and I love the variety! I’m already craving the Cropped Boyfriend Sweater with “Otto” mascot print, shown above, and the Bomber Jacket. I think I’m liking the apparel more than the jeans themselves, although they look pretty awesome too!

G-Star RAW For The Oceans Launch

G-Star RAW For The Oceans women’s Arc 3D Tapered Jean and Printed Arc 3D Tapered Jean

I don’t write a lot about men’s items, but they make up this collection just as much as the women’s items do, so here’s my favorite items out of the men’s line:

G-Star RAW For The Oceans Launch

G-Star RAW For The Oceans men’s Arc 3D Slim Tapered Jean and Printed Art 3D Slim Tapered Jean

The cool thing with the men’s jeans is that when they are cuffed they feature a pattern on the inside, and of course, all denim is raw and untreated, leaving all the fading and worn-in detailing up to your individual lifestyle, to create a custom piece that is all your own.

Check out the entire collection right here, and explore more about the collaboration and the concept in general right here on a beautifully crafted custom Tumblr page!

Weekend Style with Level 99 and Plaid

Weekend Style with Level 99 and Plaid - Front View

Weekend Style with Level 99 and Plaid

One of my favorite things to do on weekdays is to go out on the town and visit one of the many wine bars here on the Central Coast of California. Or, have a beer or two. I used to enjoy perusing all of the shops downtown, but as my style taste has evolved, I’d rather take home that one piece that means a lot to me rather than hitting a sale and coming home with bags of items. I do most of my shopping online now anyway, so sometimes just a relaxing day out is a more attractive idea to me. California’s been pretty hot, which probably isn’t a surprise to anyone considering all of the press about the drought we are experiencing, but I shot these photos about two weekends ago when there was at least a slight breeze. I chose to wear one of my absolute favorite pair of jeans, my Level 99 Tanya High Rise Skinny in Crawford that I did a Denimology review for a little while back. I can’t get enough of these! If you’ve read enough of my blog, you know about my very warm affinity for this brand. I also have a few plaid shits from American Eagle Outfitters in my closet that I love pulling out to use as outerwear in the in-between seasons, when it’s not too cold and not too hot but still a little chilly to walk around in a tank top. When I was in high school, I was big on flannel during my grungy days (this was before the goth days…), and I often wore these shirts around my waist. I rarely ever do this anymore, but I thought I’d try this with one of my comfy AE shirts on this particular weekend day. I chose this one from the store awhile back because I just loved the colors! Paired with black, I like how they pop. I finished this outfit off with my Foley & Corinna Disco City bag in Aubergine that was one of my sweet eBay scores. I love it, it is the perfect crossbody for running around town and has a lot more room in it than it appears to! My sandals are from American Eagle Outfitters, and my white corduroy hat is from Gap!

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Ethnic Handbags by Gypsy05

Ethnic Handbags by Gypsy05 - Pushkar Cosmetic Bag

Pushkar Cosmetic Bag

Ethnic Handbags by Gypsy05

Gypsy05…this brand sprung up on the scene almost as hard as the Juicy Couture tracksuits. Although Gypsy05 also had its own trendy sweatpants and hoodies that became a quick Hollywood favorite (I admit I have some), I had a much stronger preference for Gypsy05’s organic, flowy, colorful and totally everyday bohemian maxi dresses (totally coveted, and of which I have two) and tops. In fact, I had my bridesmaids each wear one of the brand’s $99 organic maxi dresses, in light blue! I’ve always admired how everything from Gypsy05 looks so casually dressy without making its fans appear like they are trying too hard..and some of those silk dresses are just so damn beautiful, whether you are attending a wedding or hitting the boardwalk! I still get newsletters in from this brand even though I’ve been focused on others lately, because it’s fun for me to stay up to date on what they are up to. Lately, I discovered these pretty new bags the brand just released!

Ranging from cosmetic bags to crossbody bags to large or small totes and hobos, Gypsy05’s bags look like they came right out of Morocco. All of these pretty pieces of arm candy actually were made in Hollywood like the rest of the brand’s numerous collections, but everything is made out of eco-friendly dying processes and/or recycled materials. Even though this is a bigtime brand with celebrities, they sure don’t skimp on making sure everything is Earth-friendly…and that’s another reason why I love them!

I actually have a hippie-looking bag from Rising International and one from American Eagle I got awhile ago, which I love to use for days at the beach, pool or any kind of outdoor gathering with friends. I love my more pricy, quality leather bags and purses but I really have two sides to myself: I’m a city girl, but don’t ever take me too far from the outdoors! I love hitting up the nightclubs with a nice leather bag, but I also love a more toned-down, ethnic cloth bag for more natural settings when it’s time to toss aside the superficial side of the style world and return to my earthy roots.

What do you think of these? You can browse Gypsy05’s handbag collection here!

Burgundy for Fall as Told by Cuyana

Burgundy for Fall as Told by Cuyana

Cuyana Leather Tote

Burgundy for Fall as Told by Cuyana

Ahhh burgundy, one of my favorite colors!! I used to despise purple, magenta or any kind of similar shade, until somehow I fell in love with the darker, earthier tone…funny, now that I think of it, I think that started when I finally learned to appreciate red wine. Either way, I like to keep my colors toned down and earthy, almost always with some black to balance things out and add contrast. Burgundy is a fun way to add some color without being too colorful. The Fall is my favorite time of year to dress, both because of the colors and the layering (and pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING). Cuyana, a clothing company that thrives on the concept of “less is more”, is releasing their new fall line on 9/17, but has a few beautiful burgundy preview items available before the launch.

We believe in both beauty and intentional buying. We love the joy of finding treasures and the pride of spending wisely. We know that with less we are more and that the essence of insight is simplicity.”

I discovered Cuyana a few months ago, and they are a relatively new company that stood out to me because they aren’t just out there flailing, trying to get you to buy more, like most shops out there are…they are a very refined, fresh breath in the shopping world that promotes “fewer, better things”—the idea of selecting closet pieces carefully, spending a little more on those key, special items that will last you and compliment more than just a few ensembles. I remember when I first started shopping, it was all about Forever 21 and any cheap boutique I could find. Well, either those items have fallen apart or lived up to their “impulse buy” status by never being worn more than once or twice. I’ve roped in my shopping habits a lot more lately, only grabbing the pieces that I know would be either great to showcase on the blog, that match items I already have, or that is quality enough to last me for years to come (I have a hard enough time trying to get rid of stuff I no longer wear…I am constantly battling my inner hoarder). At least, you know you’ll really value something if you take the time to pick it out, right? “Cuyana” means “to love” in Quechua, and the brand states “every piece we design is imbued with our love for quality, timelessness, and beauty. We want to make pieces that make you smile- and that make you love your closet.”

Anyway, on to the items…nice leather goods have been on my target list lately, a la my recent Foley & Corinna hunt and eventual find and purchase. The rich burgundy hues Cuyana offers as part of their fall line really stand out to me…I love that yummy looking leather tote, which was made in Argentina from 100% local leather! I usually like some hardware detailing but the simplicity of this item is just so tasteful. Also included here is an oversized alpaca sweater, passport case and travel case (all three come in a rainbow of other colors). The prices are pretty reasonable too for well-made leather items. I could see carrying (or wearing) all of these items with some tall black boots, an off-white top or sweater, and some dark indigo skinny jeans, like my J Brand Photo Ready Maria in Impression! I am so in love with this shade…what do you think?

Burgundy for Fall as Told by Cuyana

Cuyana Leather Wallet

Shop Cuyana‘s pre-Fall collection here before the full launch on 9/17!

H&M Studio Collection for Fall

H&M Studio Collection for Fall

My first taste of H&M was on a trip to London and Scotland several years ago on an extended study trip for college. Our professor told us about London’s notoriously cold, wet weather, so we all packed accordingly. However, we were there just in time for a record breaking heat wave (temperatures reached up to 120 degrees in the Tube). Combined with the city’s high humidity, I found myself showering 4 or 5 times a day and desperately making regular visits down to the shopping districts to collect some more appropriate clothing with my colleagues and friends! H&M was a popular choice due to the chain’s huge selection and reasonably low prices. It became a favorite shopping spot, both in London and Edinburgh, and I missed it upon returning to my small Central Coast town in California, where there is no H&M nearby. Fortunately, H&M FINALLY entered the world of e-commerce about a year ago, but there was still something special about walking around and browsing their stores, if you ask me. Maybe it’s just the memories. H&M takes part in the ready-to-wear couture world twice a year at Paris Fashion Week through their seasonal line H&M Studio, and they just released the line for fall! Everything here screams catwalk, but at prices that stay true to the brand. With leather goods like jackets and boots retailing in the $200 range, which is still the lower end of what you’d expect from leather items such as these, and satin dresses and wool tops from $30 to $60 or so, it’s definitely a great line to start your Fall shopping on a budget without skimping on style!

I am definitely eyeing the Dress with Sequined Embroidery, and I would definitely wear it like the model, with tall boots (the ones pictured are from the line)! Although, I’d probably wear my tall black heeled boots with it. The Long Chiffon Dress is pretty awesome too, although I’m not sure I’d pull it off, as I’m not really used to so much detail. This is all such a cool line for Fall, because it incorporates both the colder-weather items like jackets, sweaters, leather pants and tall boots, but also includes the transitional items like the Asymmetric Dress, for people like me in California…our warmer weather is often late summer/early Fall…my coastal town often skips summer entirely (by California standards of course)!

How fab are those Leather Suede Boots? I don’t wear earrings much at all (I just keep body jewelry CBRs and barbells in my ears most of the time), but I do love those Large Mirror Earrings, although if I go dangly I often like shorter earrings. Either way, I’m sure this was such a fun catwalk show at Paris Fashion Week…I wish I could have been there! Well, I wish I could go to any of the Fashion Weeks…NYC being the most likely.

Shop the entire H&M Studio fall collection here! There’s a TON more where this came from.

Parker Smith Ava Skinny in Skylight Review on Denimology

Parker Smith Ava Skinny in Skylight Review on Denimology - Front View

Parker Smith Ava Skinny in Skylight Review on Denimology

It appears that no matter what the current fashion trends dictate, the skinny jean’s reign is relentless. Whether the subject of a season’s runway shows around the globe or an underground cult favorite, I think we can pretty much agree the skinny jean is here to stay. Over the years the skinny jean has seen multiple variations, with new fabric or fit technologies bringing this classic style more and more towards a luxurious and perfectly comfortable fit. The fall brings out the darker washes, perfect for tucking into boots, and the summer brings out the lighter shades to keep you cool. All denim brands seem to be showing more innovation in the comfort department as the denim market becomes more saturated, especially now that we are seeing more competition with the rising popularity of leggings and activewear. One brand that I reviewed with high marks not long ago is Parker Smith, and I am thoroughly impressed with their insanely comfortable denim. My last review was for one of their bootcut styles, and today I’m bringing you a Parker Smith Ava Skinny in Skylight Review!

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Leopard and Tartan by McQ Alexander McQueen

I don’t think I need to say much about the very-well-known fashion phenomenon that is Alexander McQueen. Known for his extremely creative, over-the-top (in an amazing way) runway shows and edgy designs with a touch of romance, the brand released the ready-to-wear line McQ Alexander McQueen in 2006 to offer more accessible clothing and accessories to men and women at a lower price point. However, the designs don’t disappoint! I think it’s amazing what this brand can do. Leopard print and tartan is EVERYWHERE in the fashion world, but McQ found some way to give it a beautiful, original twist. According to Style.com, designer Sarah Burton took inspiration from leopard print in a past Alexander McQueen show, and came up with the 3-D looking, pixellated red, black and white leopard print for this Fall 2014 collection. There are even some pieces created when she layered tartan OVER the leopard to create something truly original.

I originally was just going to write about the pretty red leopard print items after I got an e-newsletter featuring them, until I saw the tartan. I am totally crushing over the Leather Bustier Tartan Dress! They are all so pretty together on the same page as well! Each piece was so expertly constructed with a perfect balance of edge and femininity…leather and ruffles, sharp edges and hardware with pleats and curvaceous tailoring…I can see why McQ Alexander McQueen remains a top brand with no limit in sight.

I’m also falling for these accessories…not a bad price point at all! I’m going to have to keep some of these on my radar…

Leopard and Tartan by McQ Alexander McQueen

McQ Alexander McQueen Leopard Pixel YT Bag

Leopard and Tartan by McQ Alexander McQueen

McQ Alexander McQueen Leopard Envelope Clutch

Leopard and Tartan by McQ Alexander McQueen

McQ Alexander McQueen Leopard Zip Around Wallet

Leopard and Tartan by McQ Alexander McQueen

McQ Alexander McQueen Lex Leopard Pixel Pump

Read more about Alexander McQueen here.

Shop more from this Fall 2014 collection below!

Authentic Artisan Footwear by Inkkas

Authentic Artisan Footwear by Inkkas

Authentic Artisan Footwear by Inkkas

I love stories of hard-working artisans being discovered by impressed travelers that happen to be entrepreneurs, and catching their big break. There’s something so genuine about an artisan craft—you can see the love put into an artisan’s work, through the blatant creativity, attention to detail and the use of quality materials sourced locally. In the end, we’re all just trying to make it in this world, and I love to support the little guys who pour their blood, sweat and tears into their projects. Lately, with the rise of eco-conscious fashion and awareness of our individual yet global fashion footprint, more of these humanitarian, fair trade brands are popping up everywhere. The now-familiar Pura Vida Bracelets shares a similar story to new footwear and accessories brand Inkkas, in terms of fashion entrepreneurs discovering artisans on a to a remote location.

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