HP Designer Matchup – The Reveal


It’s here! The final reveal of the HP Designer Matchup! Thanks to you all for giving Sarah of Cursive Design and I your input for the design of our reversible Art Deco Collar, here’s the end result after her sketches with Adobe Photoshop CS6 and the HP TouchSmart.



This reversible collar necklace is inspired by geometry, versatility, and a subtle but whimsical color palette. Side A features hand-dyed silk and brass shapes cast from vintage pieces of glass from the Art Deco period. Side B features buttery soft lambskin and simple geometric pieces of brass. It’s a piece with many option as to how it’s worn and in that sense, can go with everything. Cursive Design is about creating playful and clever pieces of jewelry that can move with a woman’s ever changing wardrobe.



We showcased our necklace, along with the four other pairs of bloggers and designers and their creations, on the rooftop of the Mondrian SoHo last Thursday during New York Fashion Week.




Note to self: Make plans to stay here. Wowza.



Bauhaus Leather Gown by Jaime Derringer of Design Milk and Mila Hermanovski

The Bauhaus Leather Gown is made of leather, mesh, and jersey. The readers of Design Milk voted on the material and art movement which became the inspiration behind the design. Out of the five designs sketched, the Design Milk readers voted the Bauhaus Leather Gown as their favorite. While researching the Bauhaus era, the paintings of Moholy-Nagy resonated and inspired the creation of the gown.



Rebrew by Megan Reardon of not martha and greypants

Neon (Ne) is born in the night sky’s exploding stars. One of the universe’s most abundant elements; it is one of the rarest found here on Earth. Yet, neon ties us to favorite past time memories. Rebrew: Connecting our heritage of the hand-forged glass bottle to our un-voyaged future(s) across the horizon.



Fashionable Floral Wallpaper by Jeanine Hays of AphroChic and Emily Henderson

Inspired by the modern floral designs presented by Project Runway Season 10 designer, Ven Budhu, the Fashionable Floral wallpaper design takes a fresh approach to floral patterns and traditional English wallpaper designs. Just like on the runway, oversized blooms make a bold statement in this energizing print.



Glo Planter by Capree Kimball of Curbly and TUG Studio

Life is a lush garden of possibility. Dont’cha think gardens and possibility look better with soft lighting? Look your best during outdoor festivities with Glo Planter! As Capree Kimball’s fans at Curbly voted, TUG Studio responded with their trademark enthusiasm. This planter was made from upcycled, recycled, and repurposed parts – even down to the concept of the soft glow immortalized by Cybil Shephard in Moonlighting! (pun intended)



You can even check out a short video of us all talking about our creations (in 90-something degree heat on a rooftop).



We shacked up at The NoMad Hotel in midtown, and I can’t recommend this place enough. There was even a claw foot bathtub in my room that overlooked Broadway. Everything about it was so good, from the individually designed room to the two bars.



While in town we also had the chance to attend the Project Runway 10 Year party at Lord & Taylor. I love a good opportunity to get sparkly!



A huge thank you to Sarah Fox of Cursive Design for partnering with me on this project, it was an honor to work with such talent! Thank you also to Jaime Derringer of Design Milk and HP for including me in such a fantastic collaborative project.


Disclaimer: HP provided both me and Sarah with a TouchSmart PC and Adobe provided Photoshop CS6 for use. All participants received a trip to New York Fashion Week. All content and opinions are my own.


HP Designer Matchup – Week 3



Say hello to Week 3 of the HP Designer Matchup, only one week left until the final piece is revealed! Last week you voted on the design of the necklace Sarah of Cursive Design is creating for New York Fashion Week, and the landslide winner was Collar Ornate!



Over the weekend Sarah worked on mocking up the piece to see if the weight felt right to wear, she also got together the vintage glass pieces and sent them off to be cast. And then there’s the dyed silk pieces which are in testing to make sure the colors are absolutely perfect. Guys, there is a LOT that goes into creating a piece of jewelry!



Sarah decided that the more functionality this necklace has, the better. (I happen to agree!) So one side will feature leather and the other silk. Here are a few sketches she whipped up using Adobe Photoshop CS6 and the HP TouchSmart. I’m so in love with where this collaboration is headed.




There’s only one reader participation poll left, this week you’re choosing what we’ll name the necklace! The poll will be open until Thursday, August 30, 2012 at midnight CST. Stay tuned next week for the big reveal!!


Disclaimer: HP provided both me and Sarah with a TouchSmart PC and Adobe provided Photoshop CS6 for use. All participants will receive a trip to New York Fashion Week. All content and opinions are mine.


HP Designer Matchup – Week 2



We’re one week into the HP Designer Matchup and it’s getting more exciting by the day! Last week you voted on adjectives that would influence Sarah Fox of Cursive Design as she brainstormed ideas for the necklace we’re creating to reveal at New York Fashion Week next month. The top three chosen words were geometric, edgy, and colorful (good choices if I say so myself!). Sarah used hand sketches, Adobe Photoshop CS6, the HP TouchSmart, and mad skills to come up with these four final design options! (Psst… pay close attention because you’ll be voting on your favorite. Poll closes Friday, August 24, 2012 at midnight CST.)






Here’s what Sarah had to add about her design process:
I do quite a bit of sketching while I design. For me, it’s an exercise in thinking and brainstorming more than a technical sketch. Right now, I’m determining the color pallete and shape(s). It’s shaping up to be a collar and, bonus: it will be reversible! A colorful silk print on one side and leather on the back. 


Disclaimer: HP provided both me and Sarah with a TouchSmart PC and Adobe provided Photoshop CS6 for use. All participants will receive a trip to New York Fashion Week. All content and opinions are mine.


HP Designer Matchup Challenge


Any chance you remember the HP/Project Runway Challenge I was a part of last summer? I hope so, because this year’s HP Designer Matchup Challenge is going to blow it out of the water. Why? (I’m glad you asked.) Because not only do I get to partner with one of my very favorite jewelry designers – Sarah Fox of Cursive Design – but I also get to involve YOU. That’s right, Sarah and I will be involving you in decisions from the direction of the jewelry piece she’ll be creating to reveal at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) right down to its name. Fun, right?



So, have you met Sarah? She began Cursive Design back in 2007 in her Chicago studio. All of her pieces are inspired by color, juxtaposition of materials, and moments found in nature. (Her North Dakota upbringing has a bit to do with that last part, I’d be willing to venture.) Sarah’s work is always unpredictable and balanced, and always growing by leaps and bounds. Earlier in the year Cursive even had a line at Anthropologie, each piece of which was made by hand just like everything Cursive sells. Quality is obviously key. Secret Bonus: It’s always been one of Sarah’s dreams to have her work at Fashion Week.



Over the next few weeks the two of us will be collaborating on the creation of a necklace that will be revealed during NYFW in September! We’ll be using the latest HP Touchsmart PC and Adobe Photoshop CS6 to sketch our options and move through the process, and of course you’ll get peeks here and there of where we’re at in the mix of things. The end result will be a necklace that Sarah creates from the drawings, and which will *hopefully* be available to you for purchase sometime in the near future.

Your involvement starts right here, right now. Sarah and I have compiled a list of adjectives as a jumping off point for our necklace-creating adventure, we just need some help narrowing it down. What sort of piece do you want it to be? Edgy, patterned, monochromatic? It’s all up to you! The survey will close Friday, August 17, 2012 at midnight CST.



Disclaimer: HP provided me with a TouchSmart PC and Adobe provided Photoshop CS6 for use. All content and opinions are mine.

Salvaged Grace


Aside from my newest role in life as caregiver, I’m also still designing. Last fall I took on a project for the lovely Erin of Salvaged Grace. We’d become friends over Twitter and she was ready for a new logo to go along with her upcoming site redesign. I knew we’d be a good match when she mentioned wanting a type-only mark, my very favorites to design. Here’s what was decided upon ultimately and I couldn’t be happier with it, it’s the perfect mix of fun and lighthearted with vintage. Just what Salvaged Grace is all about.


Ashley + Justin

I don’t normally share life events here, but the marriage of my friends Ashley and Justin is an exception. Not only did I get to watch their relationship develop and instantly know they were meant for one another, I also got to design their wedding invitations. Such a huge honor, as any designer knows.

Sometimes working for friends or family can end up being a nightmare, something else many designers are aware of. Ashley and Justin were the complete opposite, dream clients is the only term that pertains. The day they got engaged Ashley let me know they wanted me to create their invitations, and my mind started churning. I created a few mood boards and after a brief meeting with Ashley two versions came into being. They chose the one that I’d already fallen in love with –BONUS. After a few minor verbal changes, I followed up with designs for a small RSVP card (they opted for an email to save money) and an envelope label.

The ceremony and reception took place at Fort Reno, a historical military camp completely out in the middle of nowhere by my standards. There’s a small church on the grounds that looks straight out of Pulp Fiction, and also gets the best light I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes. The interior is completely wood-lined and lined on two sides with beautiful tall windows.

Everything about Ashley and Justin’s wedding day suited them perfectly, right down to Justin’s TOMS. This one’s gonna last.

 All photos copyright Stella Shot Me, with the exception of the first through third which are by me using Instagram.


NYFW + HP + Project Runway

I think you can probably recall a few months ago, back when I was following along with Project Runway and participating in a challenge with HP where I recreated each week’s look on my own. And you can probably remember me getting ridiculously excited about having the chance to attend Fashion Week and the filming of the finale runway show, yes? I thought so.

I wanted to wait until the finale aired before sharing about the trip, not because I knew anymore about who won than the average viewer (it was packed with dummy collections from the other contestants) but because everyone else participating shared right away and I thought it might be overkill. Okay, I knew it would be. On that note, it’s about to get pretty photo-heavy right here and right now.

After my bad travel karma when I flew to Seattle in July, I begged an early flight to NYC. HP listened, and I was on my way bright and early at 6:30 a.m. I snapped this shot of the Oklahoma sunrise as we took off over the city.

HP put us up at the Empire Hotel, located just across the street from Lincoln Center where tons of NYFW events go down. This was the view from my hotel room, which was sort of odd with the tiniest bathroom ever but nice nonetheless. Did you see the view?! Totally made up for any shortcomings.

And this was the gorgeous wallpaper in the hallways. Anyone know who it’s by?

The HP team didn’t arrive until after the bloggers – Jaime, Megan, Ez, Susan, and myself. But when they did were were welcomed with gift bags full of essentials (snacks!) and HP Minis to use for the next few days. Before I knew it there was champagne and more appetizers than I could handle in front of my eyes. And that was just the start of the all-star treatment we received the entire time. Seriously, other PR teams should take a note out of their book (Edelman, for those interested!).

After a lightning fast shower we all went our ways and attacked Fashion’s Night Out, which I can only define as trick or treating for fashionable adults. Events were going on every way you turned, but Jaime and I opted to tackle part of lower 5th Avenue.

I loved all of the carefully executed installations and parties, but it’s all sort of a blur. I definitely remember going into Madewell, Free People (two photos above), Anthropologie, Barney’s (OMG, the shoe department!), and Barnes & Noble for a very pregnant Jaime to pee. Afterwards we rounded out the evening with a stop at Starbucks and girl talk, then Duane Reade (Which I miss horribly – when did they get a freezer section?!) for essentials.

PHOTO: Megan Reardon

The next day kicked off bright and early with the HP team waiting in the hotel lobby and bearing Starbucks. We were off across the street to Lincoln Center where the Project Runway runway finale was filming. We were sort of herded through like VIP cattle, and freebies were flowing everywhere. (I stuck to the bottled water.) The runway tent was positively alive with energy and smiles. Above are me, Megan, and Jaime standing on the actual runway.

Once we were told the show was going to start everyone scrambled to their seats, we were pleasantly surprised that ours was two sections from the front and only six rows up! This was my view across the way. I spent a good fifteen minutes celeb spotting – Jennifer Love Hewitt, Andy McDowell, Malin Akerman, Swizz Beats, Omarion, Betsey Johnson, and a slew of former Project Runway designers.

PHOTO: Megan Reardon

Then the lights dimmed and the real wait began.

PHOTO: Megan Reardon

And out poured Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, and the guest judge. They all immediately filed towards the end of the runway which was press central for photos.

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

One of my favorite collections was Anthony Ryan’s. He’s been my favorite for a good part of the season and I couldn’t help but think he completely nailed it. Not only the collection, but the idea of putting on a show. All of his models with the exception of the one wearing the keystone piece wore blunt cut wigs. And my favorite part of the entire show were his blue airbrushed wrists. I had a chance to ask him about them the next night at the reunion party and he said he wanted tough girls, girls who would have tattoos, and that this is one of the ways he expressed that. I want to mimic it so badly on my own arm!

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

You might be wondering how I got these amazing shots at the end of the runway. You can thank Jaime’s bladder. She had to get up to use the restroom just before the show started and they wouldn’t let her back to her seat!

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

I was struck by just how black the tent became, and how much focus was drawn the runway by lighting alone.

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

The show consisted of the last nine contestants standing and lasted about an hour. Once it wrapped Heidi informed us that they were headed back to Parson’s to choose the winner and that was that! Sort of a letdown, but cool nonetheless.

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

For lunch HP took us to chef Jonathan Benno’s Lincoln restaurant, also a part of the Lincoln Plaza complex. It had us wrapped around its little finger before we ever walked in the door with its modern architecture and reflecting pool. See the grass up there? That’s the roof. (I had a chance to spend some time with Martin of CMYBacon later on that evening.)

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

And no big deal, but that’s Julliard right behind it.

We split our group into two tables and had the best conversations. It honestly felt like a group of friends getting together, the farthest thing from a PR luncheon.

The courses were small, but oh so decadent. I started with focaccia and a greens salad (not picture), then moved on to the best gnudi filled with ricotta cheese and root vegetables. Dessert was a chocolate hazelnut torta and cappuccino. Two and half hours from start to finish and I felt like I might die by the end. So good.

Believe it or not there were other things besides food and fashion happening, I just didn’t think to photograph them because I was having way too much fun. Saturday the lovely Melissa of Operation Nice took the train up from Phillie to have lunch with me. We stayed on the Upper West Side and lunched at Rosa Mexicano. This photo is part of a massive 20 x 20′ (total guess) water wall that had row upon row of diving figurines. The ones at the top started straight up and down and each row gradually descended until they were in a full-on vertical dive. I was obsessed. Oh, and Melissa? Just as nice (and as real) as her blog name suggests.

After three hours of chit chat I had to dash off for another date, this one with Jessie of The Concrete Catwalk and Caroline of Sweet Caroline in the City – both total fashionistas. We partook in a bit of pampering at the Rue La La/It Gets Better Project festivities that were also taking place at the Empire Hotel. I had a hand massage and then my makeup was done by an Emmy award-winning artist. Not too shabby!

And now a quick glance at what Fashion Week can do to one’s feet. I think it was Emily who suggested Band-Aid create a whole foot bandage for the event. Someone needs to Kickstart that right now.

And then it was time for the HP/Project Runway Reunion Party on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel. HP did a stellar job of converting the already gorgeous space into a sophisticated land of technology with touchscreens everywhere you looked and a cocktail menu with drinks named after the judges.


Oh, and a red carpet which was the single most surreal moment of my life.

This was our view and the weather was perfect. (Contrary to weather reports that it was supposed to rain for the entire four days I was in town, it didn’t until Megan and I were headed to the airport the next day.)

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

Our designs from the season were rotating on a Touchscreen while the contestants were on another.

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

Like any good party thrown in 2011, there was of course a photo booth with props. After snapping away you could walk over to a row of HPs to print them out and email the shots to yourself! Jaime and I of course took full advantage.

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

It was a blast people watching and trying to decide if someone was someone.

I especially loved this gal’s Betsey Johnson number. Her shoes were horrendous, but I was too focused on the tulle skirt to pay much mind to them.

PHOTO: Jaime Derringer

Have you noticed all of the photo credits yet? I did in fact bring my camera to New York, but never once took it out of my suitcase.

Of course there were party favors, a sweet pair of carbon blade scissors and a plaque commemorating the event. The designers in attendance walked away with their own HP Mini!

Sunday morning I met up with Susan from House of Brinson and Shayna of Pattern Pulp for an amazing brunch at Tipsy Parson.

Joanna of A Cup of Jo was supposed to join us, but had to bail at the last minute so she had this massive tray of goodies sent to our table in her stead. Such a sweetheart. I had their decadent mac and cheese which I highly recommend. (This is the point in the story where I let you know that I completely understand if you think all I did was go out to eat a bunch on my own. Because instead of taking photos of the lovely people I was with I focused  on the eats.)

And that was it. The end of the adventure. Megan and I were picked up at the hotel and taken to the airport for our rendezvous. I watched the Steelers lose their first game of the season in between flights, ate some Taco Bell, then hobbled home on my maladjusted tootsies.

This past Friday I had the chance to submit a few questions for a sit down HP was having with the winner, Anya Ayoung Chee.

Other than yourself, who was your favorite to win?
Having seen Laura’s collection, even though she wasn’t in the top four, I really think that she could have won. Her collection was super strong.

Which challenge do you wish you had the chance to do over again?
I think I could have done a much better job at the Garnier Sheep Dog challenge, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to do it over.

How does creating fashion inspire other areas of creativity in your life?
I like to experiment with different art forms. It usually goes the other way around, and I experiment with other art forms like photography or film and it influences my designs. I find that one way or another all of my influences come back together in my work.


Project Runway Challenge #7


The latest Project Runway episode was the HP/Intel pattern challenge. And let me start off by saying it was the most difficult for a few reasons.

1. We had to turn it in two weeks early, without seeing the episode and the full parameters.
2. We didn’t have the same Intel program the designers used because it’s not for sale.

But we also got off easy because we neither had to work in a team of five, create several looks, or a shoot a video for the models to walk to during the runway show. So I guess things evened out in the end.

I had to cheat a little and design my pattern in Illustrator, simple because I wanted it to look clean and that’s not something I was able to do on the Touch Screen in Art Rage. Here’s the result:



I went with a mod minidress that ended up being sort of an updated Breakfast at Tiffany’s look once I used the Piperlime wall to accessorize. In the end I was surprisingly happy with the result.


If you’ve been following along from the start, you know that last Friday I had the opportunity to attend the Project Runway finale runway show at New York Fashion Week. And wow, what an amazing experience. But I’ll be saving all that to share until the finale airs, along with the Project Runway Reunion party that took place Saturday night. This will also be the last challenge I’ll be participating in – I’m saying auf wiedersehen for now!

If you’d like to see all of my creations, check them out here. And if you haven’t seen this past week’s episode you can catch it right now.


Full Disclosure: HP provided me with a TouchSmart 610 for use. All content and opinions are mine. I have not been financially compensated by HP or Project Runway.


Project Runway Challenge #6


This past week’s challenge on Project Runway was mega creative and I loved it. Each contestant was paired with a student from the Harlem School of the Arts who created a special painting that was to be the inspiration for each designer’s avant-garde look. I wasn’t lucky enough to be able to pair with a student, but I was lucky enough to have the honor of using a painting by my lovely friend Lisa Congdon.

Check out her Red Garage, breathtaking isn’t it?

The idea was to create a look inspired by, but not mimicking, the painting. I chose a heavy white canvas as the base fabric for my large, flowing skirt. Then I attached rectangular cut pieces of fabric in all the colors represented in the barn and attached them with a hot glue gun (not enough time to sew them all on!) in a brick-like pattern. For the top I went with a raw silk the color of an overcast sky (poetic, no?) and created a voluminous half-sleeved, cropped blouse with a curvy abstract neckline. I then painted some abstract “trees” reaching up into the “sky” of it all. “Avant-garde” design is described as something you wouldn’t really see people on the streets wearing, but would definitely see on the runway or Lady Gaga. I think this is right along those lines, for sure.


From the Piperlime accessories wall I went with the Ivory Horn necklace from Hive & Honey and the Dimora heels from Charles David.


Later this week I’ll be jetting off to New York Fashion Week and the taping of this season’s Project Runway finale! And don’t worry, I’ll be bringing back a full report. If you haven’t seen my designs from the season up to this point, you can check them out here. And if you need to catch up on the season you can watch full episodes for free right online.

Full Disclosure: HP provided me with a TouchSmart 610 for use. All content and opinions are mine. I have not been financially compensated by HP or Project Runway.