Friday, May 31, 2013

A Creative Victory: VVB

I love to connect with other women who share my interests and appreciation of fashion, creation and art in general. I am grateful, through technology to have been able to connect with fellow artisan and eBoutique owner Brande Wilkerson of Victory Vintage Boutique and Design Studio (or VVB). I have personally shopped  for Vintage via VVB for my own closet and am currently waiting on a fabulous Custom feather creation from her design studio to arrive! 

Vintage Hat SOLD

Creative individuals always inspire me and this includes Brande, a busy MOMpreneur with 2 girls and a budding creative business in Austin Arkansas. She is a happy, positive person who I am thrilled to feature. I'm all about one's creative evolution and over the past 3 years I have seen Brande's passion for Fashion's past evolve into this haute hybrid of Vintage, Re-styled, uniquely inspired pieces from full gowns to hair accessories.  She does a lot of her own artistic portraiture, modelling and photography too. She styles her images, does theatrical makeup and sets the scenes to bring her visions to life. She has an affinity for Vintage wedding gown re-inventions and by the look of her images some really amazing friends (models), though she primarily models her creations and Vintage wares. Shes a one woman show like I am and for that alone I have a ton of respect for her and the hours it takes to run a creative business and also be a good mother.
I asked her to tell me about the Evolution of her business. I wanted to know where she started and where she thinks she is heading ...
Brande explained to me, "My business Victory Vintage Boutique started in year 2000 when I inherited a group of amazing billowing chiffon peignoirs from my grandma. I was on the hunt for more like these and found them! I went looking for the things I loved and started selling some of them online and learned there was a market out there for beautiful vintage garments like the ones I loved. I started selling online that year and became a Powerseller within 9 months! I was selling and shipping amazing vintage dresses, accessories and party gowns around the world!"
In the last 2 years I have expanded to open my Etsy Design Studio which offers one of a kind hand made designs, gowns, headpieces and hats. Many made from discarded vintage millinery ,trims and vintage fabric remnants that came into my hands that were just too beautiful to toss. This was the birth of the VVB dream gowns line of altered vintage wedding gowns and headpieces. I look forward to growing and expanding my design work, and evolving my collections into unique wearable creations as inspiration come into my hands! The future for VVB is wide open!
I love that she pushes the boundaries and follows the vision that is uniquely HER's. She draws her inspiration from several sources. She told me, "Many factors inspire my designs. I am an art buff, and my mother is an art teacher so it has always been in my life & blood! Recently I have been hugely inspired by the Art Nouveau period of art history. Some of my favorite artists are Alphonse Mucha, Gasper Camps,Walter Crane and Georges de Feure. Their amazing work inspired the "Fine Art Inspired collection" of gowns & headpieces for VVB. I offer these creations in my Etsy Design Studio. We offer these pieces for rental for photo shoots as well."
Who is the VVB woman? Brande says, "The VVB woman is a creative and uninhibited creature! She is confident in expressing herself through creative style and glamorous fashion design! She is also not as interested in the trends as what inspires her and makes her unique!"
Her FAV piece from her most recent collection is the Huldah Headpiece ($225)
A floral, faux fur creation. 
Available HERE 
"I think its my favorite because of the vintage element with the fox fur stole that drapes the shoulders.The colors and earthy and flattering on everyone and the dramatic feel of this brings a magestic queenly feel when you wear it. The gown styled with with is also from our collection of altered vintage slip dresses. Its made with a ecru collar and embellished with trimmings from a vintage wedding veil"

The VVB 2 cents on Style: "Wear what best defines you! Trends are fun to embrace and try but only choose the ones you like and add your own twist to make it yours. Reinvent your style by your own definitions each season..that way YOU own the trends!"
The sky is really the limit for Brande and VVB. I'm excited to see where her creative inspiration will lead her next.

Are you a VVB Woman?
 What's your FAV piece from her collections?
Leave your comments below!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pick of the Peep: FLATS

Graphic by Cloho Deux Shoe by: Kurt Geiger c. 2009

I am a sucker for a peep toe shoe. I have no idea why I am naturally drawn to them but there are more open toe than closed in my closet.

I wanted to share my top 5 PEEPING TOE'S in FLATS for the summer, under $50.

1) JustFab ASTORIA ($39.95 if you are a member)

2) Betsey Johnson CADBURRY in Neon (SALE: $39.98)

3) Iron Fist Lacy Day in IVORY ($39.99) (If you are a 9/10B you can get them for $19.99 on AMAZON)

Pleaser DEMONIA:  DAISY-64 ~ $32.95 (a fresh twist on a classic spectator)

What are your FAV Peeps?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

LVA: Every Woman, Every Day

I am new to the world of habitually working out. I am a start/stop kind of gal who has issues with maintaining my motivation. My priorities are family first and all of the rest later with exercise usually falling to the bottom of the list. I have been hard pressed to find something that has kept my interest but I LOVE the dance fitness program LaBlast. It was created by my friend, champion dancer, Dancing with the Stars pro and now fitness clothing designer Louis Van Amstel.
Equally challenging is navigating the fitness fashion realm, one of the only style genres that I have little experience with. From what I've seen and tried the garments fall a little short to say the least. I was truly EXCITED to learn Louis LVA clothing line is now available via It is available in 3 colors (pink, blue and black) and garment sizes going up to 3XL.
My FAVOURITE piece in the collection is the MATADORE PANT! ($59.99)
No more loose skin or flab spilling over your all ready ill fitting workout pants. This will provide full mid section coverage and support while you work your way to your best body. It is also adjustable so you an fold it down to suit your body type/height. Louis expressed to me during our conversation about his new line, "my first vision was to create the ultimate work out pant. There will also be another version coming that is a 'convertible pant' that you can wear three ways"

I chatted with Louie at length about his new line and I adore his genuine intention to provide every woman, of every age, every size, and every budget an opportunity to look great while living their daily lives AND while working out.

Louie expressed how proud he is of the line and how hands on he was in the design, color and fabric choices. He based his designs for each piece on his experience with women. He mentioned, "after doing LaBlast for so many years I have been able to gain a new perspective about body types; what women want, what they want to hide and what they want to reveal. I have the vision for the pieces and then I collaborate with the designer. It is all about what is the most flattering on a woman"

LVA is an active wear lifestyle brand. it is all about the most value for your money. I wanted the collection to be versatile. It is a hybrid collection that not only can you look stylish while working out but you can add jeans or a different pant and run your errands, go to lunch, appointments or shopping. All of the garments have a touch of femininity and it's all about feeling good!"


I wondered who the target market was for his line as I noticed one of the models he chose is not a 20 year old, size zero which is what we have come to expect in this society. She is however a beautiful, mature, woman.  Louis explained, "The Motto for LVA is: I'm every woman. We are catering to seven decades, any ethnic group, any size."
Long Sleeve in True Black $48 (Also Avail in Blue/Pink)

I love the side rouche detail and the lengths of these tops. I have personally experienced the peril of an exercise (or regular top) rolling or riding up as you move. These garments are long enough to cover the midsection and with that side string you can adjust to suit your shape and height.

Louis and I also talked a little bit about sizing. He originally started LaBlast to genuinely help fight obesity and realized that women of every size needed something feminine and stylish to wear. He explained "Women who are XXL or XXXL were wearing t-shirts that were so over sized or their husbands/men's t-shirts. I thought they deserved something better. The motivation is to help the woman who is XXL transition to XL, to LG and so forth in a feminine way with the LVA brand. The clothes are designed to make her feel good while she is doing it."

Moral of the story ladies: You can be feminine, beautiful and stylish at ANY size. This personally motivates me to get into an every day workout program. There is no one I would rather make my size and health transitions with than Louis Van Amstel, LVA and LaBlast.

What pieces will you buy? Leave your picks in the comments below.

USE CODE: MEMORIAL to SAVE an additional 15% (Today only: 5/28)

The matador pant, hourglass tank and long sleeve top are in my cart as I type. I'll share my images rockin' LVA in a future post!

Let Louie know your feedback about the line and share your pictures!

Monday, May 27, 2013

My Memorial Day Message

Today America is 'celebrating' Memorial Day. A day that was intended as  "a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Formerly known as D Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service."  (via Wiki)

As a Canadian living in the US I have a unique perspective. As a Canadian I have always reflected and remembered our soldiers on Remembrance Day, November 11th which is the same as the US version, Veterans Day.  Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

Culturally in the US I understand that this long weekend marks the 'beginning of summer' and people are jovial and excited to break out the BBQ and party. I could not imagine having a party on Remembrance Day. Growing up in Canada I remember it always being a very respectful, solemn day of reflection, appreciation, education and history. It continues to be so in our household today as my mother lays a wreath each Nov 11th for her uncle who was killed at age 22 in WWII fighting for Canada as an ally to the USA.

Every day should be a remembrance day of sorts for our veterans and service members. I teach my daughter about these historical days as well as have her approach and physically THANK (as do I) any service member I see in uniform or veterans with visible pins/hats/stickers as we go about our day. I feel it is important to show respect and teach future generations about the contributions service members make. They, as well as their families make serious sacrifices that none of us can really grasp unless we were in that situation. Their lives are forever changed by choosing to protect ours.

A great way to pay homage to those who gave their lived is approaching each day with gratitude and the knowledge that without the service of others, our lives would cease to exist as we know it. We enjoy all of the fabulous things life has to offer and time with our loved ones because men and women gave up theirs. 

I sincerely say THANK YOU.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hearst Castle: Be a Friend

Neptune Pool - My view from a lounge chair (May 2013)

There are so many causes out there that we can choose to donate our hard earned money too. In fact, since I moved and got a new number my land line has been a 3 week blitz of fund raising calls on behalf of every charity in America. 
Hearst Castle Gardens as seen by me: Mother's Day 2013

We usually lean toward causes that touch our lives in some way, inspire us or make us feel that our money is going to help the most people or the greater good.  Through the year I donate to my fair share of causes, medical, animal and social. One of my FAV local places to support is Hearst Castle (via The Friends of Hearst Castle)
Image: LisaG -Neptune Pool with Synchronized Swimmers there for a private event, warming up to a Cole Porter tune. (Oct 6, 2012)

For those of you who follow my other social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) know how much I adore this historical monument. La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Hill), is indeed that to me. In the 5 years I've lived in California it has been the source of major inspiration for me and frequent visits. 
Images: LisaG - Castle Theatre April 2013

Many people have serious misconceptions about the Castle,, like how it is funded and who pays the bills for example.

CASTLE FYI: The castle was donated to the People of the State of California in December 1957 by the Hearst Corporation. Neither the Hearst Corporation or William Randolph Hearst's estate pay for the Castle. The castle is maintained by both the State of California, through funding and tour ticket sales in conjunction with Friends of Hearst Castle.  FOHC is a non profit organization that raises money for restoration, education and preservation projects.

It is a National and California Historical Landmark as well as a museum. There is really something for everyone up there. If you love history, horticulture (gardens), old Hollywood, architecture, publishing/journalism, and all aspects of art (sculpture, furniture, painting, etc.)
Image: LisaG- Fountain in front of Casa Grande (April 4, 2013)

I will be attending an event, Twilight on the Terrace on June 8th on the hilltop. My eBoutique - Evolution Vintage made a donation to their silent auction:

3) Evolution Rewind Ring (one of a kind)

I will be posting a series of Hearst Castle blogs in the coming weeks with images, info and facts about the castle and the inspirational figures who created it.

Want to become a friend? MEMBERSHIP INFO
You can also make a tax deductible donation HERE

Me - Rockin' a William Randolph Hearst-esque top at in the gift shop at the visitors center - May 2013!

Have you visited the Castle? 

Post your experiences in the comments below!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Joan Collins: 80 & Fabulous!

A true living legend Joan Collins puts the GLAM in glamour.  Her career spans 5 decades with her first, of over 65 feature films in 1951 (Lady Godiva Rides Again / released in USA as "Bikini Baby")
She was born on this day in Paddington (Central London), England in 1933.
 She has had a truly impressive career and life:
* 65+ feature films
*Dozens of Television Credits (Including what I know and love her for  - her role on the 80's smash hit Dynasty as the character Alexis Carrington)
* Best Selling Author (Selling over 50 MILLION copies, translated into 30 languages worldwide)
*She has 3 children (as well as grand children - a true GLAMma)
*She is COB status - made officer of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997
With a heart as large as her talent Joan  is devoted to the well-being of women, children and families and regularly lends her support and celebrity to causes that include finding a cure breast cancer and empowering children with learning disabilities.
I know and love Joan for the gold lame clad, shoulder pad, diamond dripping, champagne sipping, cage veil wearing cunning character of Alexis Carrington from the popular Arron Spelling produced show Dynasty. I used to beg my mom to let me stay up with her and my grandmother as they religiously tuned in, week after week. I was in awe of her costumes, jewels and hats!
She is a fashion icon of the 1980's and remains a Style Maven. She has been tres chic since her debut in the industry in the 1950's and deserves the style credibility. She is an inspiration now in her 80th year that glamour has no limits!! I LOVE her penchant for hats, turbans and veils .. a girl after my own heart!!

Enjoy some of Joan's looks over the years as you raise a glass of champagne to toast this stylish dame!!

"Glamour is not only about what you wear - it is also about your personality. Glamourous women seem to share something extraordinarily attractive that comes from within. It could be a serene, ethereal quality, a fiery, independent brassiness or a regal bearing, but whatever it may be glamourous women have it in spades."

ROCKING the 2013 Clive David Pre-Grammy Party 2013

Wishing you the happiest of Birthdays Dahhhhhling!!