Fashion

12 St. Beach

Yesterday, Chicago gave me the best gift: perfect weather. The sky was more blue than usual, the people were happier than usual, and the breeze was just right.

I wasn’t expecting to go downtown, but my sister needed to take some pictures for work. So, I grabbed my sandals, put on my sunhat and was on my way. Once we got to the beach, it was a dream. North Avenue beach is usually the summer hang out spot in Chicago, but it’s usually over crowded. 12 St. Beach is more private and I feel like people are able to enjoy themselves more at this particular beach.

While my sister was taking pictures, I just got to sit around and really enjoy Chicago in its’ entirety. Living in a big city, you’re always in a rush, so being able to look around and enjoy my beloved city, was refreshing.

My outfit: Thank God for Macy’s! For the new readers and for people who are getting to know more about me, I love Macy’s. I am an advocate and a constant shopper of the franchise. With that said, my blouse and shorts were bought at Macy’s. The hat I’m wearing was recently bought at Nordstrom’s, and my shoes were purchased at Famous Footwear.

It was a perfect beach outfit because at one point, I was covered in sand. Once I left, the sand didn’t stick on me. I simply brushed it off and I was on my way! Additionally, my outfit was light, breezy, comfortable, and fun to wear. Definitely will be wearing this outfit again and I will continue to shop at Macy’s (not sponsorsed, just a fan).

-Michelle

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Fashion

Plants and Black Denim Pants

Hi guys! On this blog post, I will be analyzing the outfit I wore when I went to Menards. A little bit about Menards, it’s a low-key hang out spot. For folks who aren’t familiar with the franchise, it’s a home improvement store where you can buy hard wood, light fixtures, plants, patio furniture, doors, you name it!  Knowing that piece of information, you’re probably thinking two things: “Girl, that’s really your hang out spot?” or “Girl, you right about that!” When it comes to Menards, there isn’t an in between. You either love it or hate it.

Reason for my trip: last summer my mom and I bought these special plants that you put in your backyard and the mosquitoes stay away due to its smell (best plant ever.) So, we went to the garden area of Menards to find out that they don’t sell them there anymore. Worst part of it all, I don’t remember the name of the plant! I just know how it looks like and I distinctly remember a mosquito cartoon character being stuck on the plant holder. Since they didn’t have the plants, we still looked around at the flowers and plants and was ready to buy all of them. Haha!

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Onto my outfit! I’m going to try to do something new when it comes to listing the items I wear. I don’t know if I’ll keep that format, but I thought it’d be cool to try something out in the early process of the fashion portion of the blog.

Outfit Items:
Black Jeans Lane Bryant
T-shirt: UNIQLO
Jacket: Columbia Sportswear
Shoes: Rock Candy
Glasses: Christian Siriano
Hair: Extremely messy and done by yours truly

The pieces I have listed I wear all the time and I highly recommend each brand and each item I am wearing in this photo.

Best,

Michelle

 

 

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Fashion

Gotta Love A Bird Print

Before anything else, I understand that items of clothing with birds or animals isn’t for everyone. With that said, I used to work at a zoo and that made me love animals even more, so I don’t have a problem with wearing cute animals printed things. Matter of fact, my problem was that I had too many items of clothing with animals on them. Haha! Knowing that, it got out of hand and I had to cut down on the “animal printed clothing” tremendously. Although I don’t have as many animal printed items anymore, it doesn’t mean I won’t buy more. It just means I am more selective with my choice of animal prints.

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Today’s blog post is going to be about an outfit I wore when the sun was blazing in Chicago. The dress I wore is a black summer dress, printed with colorful birds and flowers (bought at Old Navy). The dress was the perfect choice for a hot, sunny day because the material was breathable. It was heavy and it was absolutely comfortable. The black knit, overlay sweater was made by my friend Ms. Murillo. She has these amazing knitting skills that I wish I had, and I’m so glad I have this piece to pair with other dresses. The beige wedges are Crocs. Now, I’m fully aware I’m mentioning Crocs wedges again, but they’re seriously the best things ever made and I wish I had 20 pairs of Croc wedges. I highly suggest you go into one of their stores and try on a pair. It’ll definitely change the shoe game. Last and not least, my sunglasses. Found those Calvin Klein beauties at TJ Maxx and bought them for only $12! What a deal!

So, if you’re like me and you love clothing with animals on them, please comment below and let me know the best places to find those types of clothes and/or brands. I could use a chic, animal printed anything.

Best,

Michelle

 

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Fashion

Introducing the Fashion Blog

Hi readers! Welcome to a new category I’m introducing to the blog: Fashion. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while now, but I never felt that confident to do so until now. I’ve surrounded myself with supportive and encouraging people who gave me the idea to write a fashion blog. Now, this part of my blog will discuss topics such as: brands I like, the fun of putting outfits together, products I use, how-to’s, highlighting plus size fashion, and styling myself and friends.

How it all began– This year, people have been asking me where I would get certain items of clothing; whether it was at the mall, grocery store, and even church.  Additionally, my friends would send me texts of items they wanted my input on (so honored). I’ve been extremely humbled that multiple people have noticed my outfits and would want to know more about my fashion choices. So I thought that writing about my outfits in a public setting would allow friends, family and new readers to explore fashion with me. I am not a professional stylist, but that’s the best part of it all. There isn’t any pressure and I get to write about topics I want to write about. A little heads up, being “on-point” all the time is not really who I am as a person, so you won’t find that here. I’m just a regular, chubby, artsy, city gal who is sharing her fashion insights on WordPress. Haha!

For me, fashion is a way to show people a glimpse of personality and creativity; that’s what intrigues me the most about it. The way people can put prints, colors, and accessories together, is its own art form and I love and respect that. With that said, I just hope that I’m able to encourage women (especially my plus size fam) to have fun with styling and clothes! Additionally, that it’s possible to feel good and confident about yourself with any body type. You’re allowed to dress yourself up and feel beautiful. Whomever says otherwise, cut them out of your life and add them to your social media accounts so they can see how happy you are just being yourself.  😉

I am beyond excited to start this journey and to have all of you come along the journey with me.

With more to come,

Michelle

P.S.- To my followers who are interested in my art history posts, I plan to continue to write them. Art history and my opinions on the topic is the reason why I started this blog in the first place, so to just discontinue that would just make my heart sad. Haha!

 

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Art & Design

I’ll Just Move to France

There is nothing I admire more than a talented woman who knows her worth. A woman who pursues her dreams, without limitation and fear. Mary Cassatt was definitely that and more. If you’re not familiar with Cassatt, I suggest you read the rest of the post. Reading her story is nothing but inspirational and probably would’ve dominated the social media world if she were here today.

Born around the 1840s, Cassatt was born into a pretty wealthy and established family; her father being a real estate and investment broker. Skip ahead to the 1850s where her mother of all trades taught Cassatt the following: homemaking, embroidery, music, sketching and painting. As she grew older, her family lived in Europe for several years to experience culture; eventually becoming a very well-rounded individual.

Of all the trades she was taught at a young age, painting became her passion. So much so, that she wanted to go to school to become a professional painter. At the age of 16, she enrolled in Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. It was uncommon for women to attend school or pretty much anything that was male dominated, so she wasn’t welcomed with open arms. With a mixture of negativity and the school’s curriculum, Cassatt grew tired and moved to France to learn from Old Masters. All by herself. You go girl! 

Passing over Cassatt’s story where her father’s disapproval, submitting work under a different name, the Franco-Prussian War, and becoming an established artist from 1872-74, she befriended Degas in 1879! It started as being an admirer of his work to being one of his strongest friends. Through the connection, Cassatt was able to submit 11 pieces of work with the Impressionists of 1879 (Monet, Manet, Degas, Caillebotte, need I say more?). It was definitely the highlight of her artistic career.

Most impressionists are known for landscapes, light and movements. Cassatt was known for her portraits of women, more specifically, mothers and their children. Which brings me to The Child’s Bath. Painted in 1893, it shows the relationship between mother and child.

According to The Art Institute’s Art Access online, it states, “In rendering this subject, the artist relied on keen observation rather than idealization, yet still portraying great intimacy. The woman’s gestures—one firm hand securing the child in her lap, the other gently caressing its small foot—are both natural and emblematic, communicating her tender concern for the child’s well-being. The two figures gaze in the same direction, looking together at their paired reflection in the basin of water…The many paintings, pastels, and prints in which Cassatt depicted children being bathed, dressed, read to, held, or nursed reflect the most advanced 19th-century ideas about raising children.”

The Child’s Bath creates various feelings for me. Whenever I look at the painting, it reminds me of the relationship I had with my grandmother. Our bond was like the painting, effortless and filled with love. My grandmother was the type of person who would do anything for the people she loved, even on her toughest days where the world got the best of her. With that said, the painting reminded me of summer days where the house was too hot. We’d go outside, turned on the water hose, filled up a bucket, and cooled ourselves off. Once we were done, she’d sit next to me with a towel (just like the lady in the painting) and dry me off before I entered the house.

I believe the toughest part about losing someone you cared for are the memories. They hit you in tiny waves and all at once, but they’re all we have left. The Child’s Bath  hits me like a tidal wave, but that’s why I hold the painting dear to my heart.

I am completely grateful for Cassatt’s existence and influence in the art world. She managed to almost always show women as the main subject, relationships between them, and relevancy in women artists. Cassatt was the second woman impressionist to showcase her work amongst Impressionist giants. To display work next to influential artist is probably the most intimidating feeling to have, but she just focused on her art and craftsmanship. Taking an opportunity and creating beautiful artwork that shows more than a technique(s) is what I aspire to do as a designer.

-Michelle

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References

  1.  http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/Impressionism/Cassatt
  2.  https://www.biography.com/people/mary-cassatt-9240820

 

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Art & Design

A Quiet Place in a City full of Noise

Fountain of the Great Lakes by Lorado Taft will be the last piece I’ll discuss from the Art Institute of Chicago (for now).  The statue was created in in 1913, relocated in 1963, and now resides in the South Garden.

The title of the structure is self explanatory. It’s a piece that represents the five great lakes: Michigan, Ontario, Huron, Erie, and Superior. The website publicartinchicago.com states, “…The five women are so arranged that the water flows through them in the same way water passes through the Great Lakes. ‘Superior’ is on the top and ‘Michigan’ on the side both empty into the basin of ‘Huron,’ who sends the stream to ‘Erie’ whereas ‘Ontario’ receives the water and gazes off as it flows into the ocean.”

On warm Chicago days, I would walk to get to the bus that would take me home. I would usually take two buses to get there, but Fountain of the Great Lakes would always be on my way. I always looked forward to those warm, windy days because that meant the gates were to be open at the South Garden; meaning the public was able to see the fountain up close and personal. The amount of times I’ve sat there and taken photos of that one piece alone, is a pretty substantial number.

I wonder if I’m the only one who thinks this, but I feel like whenever I visit, it’s extremely quiet. Usually when something or someplace is located downtown, quiet is not the word you would think of. With that said, visiting Fountain of the Great Lakes at the Art Institute of Chicago, there’s peace. Occasionally, I’ll take photos or bring my sketchbook, but my favorite thing to do while I’m there is sit on a bench and gaze at Taft’s masterpiece. It becomes a place where time gets lost and stress falls away. Additionally, it’s cute to see ducks visit from time to time.

My experiences at the Art Institute of Chicago has taught me to enjoy art in its entirety and its moments. There is nothing more beautiful than finding a place where you’re able to find a piece of yourself. For that, AIC will always have a place in my heart.

-Michelle

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Probably the 100th photo of Fountain of the Great Lakes and was taken by yours truly. 

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