Who keeps inviting Joy Villa?
September is a major month in fashion, as Fashion Week kicks off the early in the month in New York City and makes its way to Milan, Paris and London. I decided to share some of the looks I was most excited to see through many of the collections. And it looks like some of the Fall trends I shared with you last week will continue into Spring!
Alice + Olivia
An inside look of the Banyan Tree's holiday party and collection reveal.
Okay, budgetistas, now let’s get in to formation!
Am I the only one who loves expensive things but my bank account won't let me be great? I am also a firm believer of seasonal handbags, a bag for every season. Currently in the Midwest it still feels like summertime despite it being nearly November, but it’s still Autumn. Even if you love yourself some designer handbags, you can get some gorgeous ones for under $300.
Here are some discounted handbags to add to your autumn wardrobe.
Cole Haan | Renson II Small Woven Leather Tote Bag $189.97
Vivienne Westwood | Derby Satchel $299.97
Betsy Johnson | Printed Satchel $49.97
Kate Spade New York | Emerson Place Lenia $179.00
Milly | Astor Mini Leather Saddle Crossbody $159
Alice + Olivia | Present Box Small Leather Crossbody $219
French Connection | Alana Smooth Shoulder Tote Bag $85.00
Henri Bendel | West 57th Backpack $289.00
Rebecca Minkoff | Julian Convertible Mini Leather Backpack $195
Sunset & Spring | Double Pocket Faux Fur Backpack $80
Kate Spade | Watson Lane Hartley Leopard Print $198
Happy handbag shopping!
Phew! I am still exhausted from the non-stop week I had.
On Tuesday, after months of planning, CMSD and Channel 3 joined forces and kicked off our Untitled Black History Month project with the Digital Arts High School. To jump start the program, we chartered the students around Cleveland to prominent historical landmarks, including Garret A. Morgan Water Works, Karamu House, St. John’s Episcopal Church, etc. One interesting fact I learned during the tour, it took slaves an entire year to walk from the south to Ohio/St. John’s Episcopal Church. What an incredible and brave of them to endure to freedom.
The next few days were spent at the Council of Great City Schools where the largest urban school districts in the country come to together and share how to improve and enrich our scholars’ education. It was my second time attending but equally informative. This year, Cleveland hosted the conference. I have to say, CMSD and Cleveland did a fantastic job as hosts and really set the bar for next year’s hosts Baltimore.
We also had incredible speakers during the conference aside from our peers. Bill Gates opened the conference and in a big way by announcing he would donate 1.7 billion dollars to charter schools.
Rosario Dawson shared her journey as a daughter of a teen mom, growing up poor in the Lower East Side in Manhattan and how her mom advocated for her to have the best education. With her current platform she pays it forward by her involvement in Lower East Side Girls Club.
Van Jones closed the conference with an incredible speech on how we need to balance the left and right to have a working and powerful future. He also moderated our forum on equity in education with superintendents including CMSD’s Eric Gordon, and CMSD’s students and parents.
I skipped one of the conference dinner to attend the Milly fashion show at Saks.
Saturday night, we had our farewell celebration at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum, where the entire museum was open for the attendees to explore. Although I just visited the museum a few weeks ago, I was finally able to take in their Power of Rock Experience, a 15 minute video of some of the highlighted performances throughout the years of the Rock Hall’s induction ceremony in a surround sound theater. It was incredible and I recommend anyone to check it out if you’re in the area (as well as their Rolling Stone magazine anniversary exhibit).
I closed off the weekend and week by attending the first show of the Broadway Series at Playhouse Square, Waitress. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy the musical when it was announced earlier this year during preview week, but I will say it’s one of the best musicals I have ever seen. As a proud Ice Princess, I wept at the end. It really made my cold heart melt for a few minutes. You know it’s good when it’s capable of doing that.
Overall, I had an eventful week. I wish I could say this week will be mellow but that's simply not the case. I'm heading back home to New York City for a few days this week. I cannot wait to go back to the city that never sleeps!
If you're following along, and read "Shake Up Your Work Attire" you'll know that I am in the process of changing up my work wardrobe. During the winter, I always end up wearing a uniform which consist of a black turtleneck and black slacks. Although I think it's great to wear a uniform once awhile, I did not want to get set in my old ways.
I had always been into androgynous looks, the way a woman can wear menswear and make it sexy, has always been GOALS! Some of my favorite fashion icons are capable of making that look work, including Tracee Ellis Ross, Diane Keaton, and Grace Jones. I decided to buy my first suit set, and not the Hillary Clinton kind, one that would get me excited when I throw it on for work.
This Fall I am completely obsessed with all things velvet and my favorite color is black. When I came across this suit on ASOS, I not only gagged but I also knew I had to have it in my life.
I wish I could wear nothing but black, but a splash of color doesn't hurt. I paired the outfit with pearls and my gorgeous black and white Gx by Gwen Stefani pumps.
When I began my big girl job, my mom purchased all my work attire. The thought of just going through a store to find something to wear to work just bored me to tears, but my mom enjoys shopping so it was a win-win situation. They were all professional, but very boring (no disrespect.) However, after 2+ years in this position, I'm over trying to conform to the social norms of what a 'professional' should look like. I'm comfortable enough in my skin and my job to show my true sense of style.
I've never been one who wants to fit in when it comes to style. There are trends that I find cool and might adapt, but for the most part, I have an idea of what I want to look like and how it should be styled.
That being said, I decided to go into my closet and throw away outfits that weren't for me. I kept some that I'll wear when I'm not in the mood to style myself, and kept other items that I knew I could shake up with different pieces and make my own.
This outfit is a mix of old and new; A pencil skirt, with a blouse and heels:
Skirt: An Express faux leather skirt I purchased from a thrift store. (Already own.)
Shoes: Black and white Gx by Gwen Stefani (Already owned.)
Blouse: Polka dot, puffy sleeve with front tie from H&M (New.)
Last year on a whim, I decided to purchase a cheap round trip ticket and traveled to Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels on my own. It was freeing, and liberating to be able to travel to several countries on my own, not knowing the native languages, and to figure it out all on my own. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to take another solo trip and visit some more new countries I've never been to before. Since last Saturday, I've been touring Eastern Europe and seeing part of the world I never thought I'd see. Aside from traveling and broadening my horizons, this trip was to self reflect, and understand the woman I am becoming in my thirties. But enough of that sappy stuff, let's see what I did at my first stop, Prague, Czech Republic.
The moment I stepped out of the train station into Prague, I was amazed by the architecture. The buildings were stunning and meticulous with how they were structured, every detail creating such gorgeous architecture that was simply breathtaking. I'm such an American that seeing such gorgeous, old style buildings resembled something almost unreal to me; I had stepped into Disney World, where they have fantasy buildings and sets to make you believe you're in New York City in the 1920's.
Aside from roaming around the city and understanding my "home" for a few days, I did some shopping. I couldn't help myself, especially since there were two malls near where I was staying. The most important item I purchased was an Adidas sweatshirt which was highly needed during the evening. My bomber jacket wasn't going to keep me warm with the low 60 degree temperatures at night.
During my second day, I toured the old and new city of Prague, where I saw most of the Prague Castle and the famous Charles Bridge.
I even had my own Britney Spears "Slave 4 U" moment with a yellow python. It was cute and fun at first, but then the head started getting closer to my face and all I could think about was the movie Anaconda and how my life could come to an end at any moment. (mind you, there was also a giant snake behind me as well.) It was quite possible.
My last full day in Prague I went to the Museum Kampa which had an Manolo Blahnik exhibit, showing off some of his most iconic shoes, drawings, and even some costumes from the film Marie Antoinette, which he was the head shoe designer for. I had died and gone to shoe heaven. I felt I was finally becoming Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn't take home all the fabulous shoes, but at least I was in the same proximity of them.
As a big Beatles fan, I visited the John Lennon Wall, a long wall with graffiti drawings and words inspired by love, peace, and happiness. With the current political climate in America, it was nice to escape the madness and take in some positivity, and sing joyous songs with complete strangers. (Shout out to my Kate Spade purse that found its way into most of my pics.)
This Sunday, the most exciting music award show, MTV’s Video Music Awards will air. At the VMA's, all of the genre’s biggest stars, reality stars, and z-listers collide, which leads to the unexpected. The fashion is always wacky, and someone is bound to cause a feud leading to some of the most memorable musical performances. Since its airing back in 1984, fashion has been a major staple for the award show, from the assless jumpsuit Prince wore during his performance of “Get Off” to Madonna’s infamous wedding dress with the “boy toy” belt. Let’s strut down memory lane, and round up some of the VMA’s most unforgettable fashions.
1. Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan shocked the world when she showed up with Marilyn Manson while wearing a see through mesh dress that revealed basically everything. The dress was made of entirely out of intricate beads.
2. Lil’ Kim
Lil’ Kim was never one afraid to show off her body, but somehow her lavender jumpsuit is still one of the most talked about ensembles at the VMA’s. It might be because one of her boobs was out for display with just a simple lavender pasty. Later that night her outfit was so shocking that Diana Ross needed to bounce Lil’ Kim’s boob.
3. Jennifer Lopez
J.Lo’s look at the 200 VMA’s is the most “Jenny from the Block” look she has ever worn. Rocking all white, with rhinestones everywhere from her belt, to her bandana, to her Sean Jean crop top, and even her belly button art. I’m sure you could walk around the South Bronx right now and find someone rocking the exact same outfit.
4. Gwen Stefani
Was the American flag inspired by this look? I think so. Gwen rocked a sequined red and white halter top with blue culottes in toe with “Rock Steady” brass knuckles.
5. Christina Aguilera
X-Tina if you’re nasty showed up to the VMA’s in classic early 2000’s fashion; extremely short jean skirt with an insanely unnecessary belt, a cloth to cover her boobs just enough (I never rocked that style but I’m sure one of my readers has tried to pull of this look), ratty multi colored hair, and a newsboy cap. Even though her “Dirrrty” era is her most iconic, aren’t we glad she got her fashion together?
6. Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey
For years, there were countless rumors that Mariah and Whitney didn’t get along, but the two killed those rumors when they put their mega voices together for the song “When You Believe.” With their fun personalities, they wanted to play off the rumors, and showed up to the VMA's with the same dresses….sort of; Both divas ripped off part of the others dress for an epic dress off.
7. Katy Perry and Riff Raff
Aside from their bubble gum romance, when you think of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, you think of their matching denim outfits. At the 2014 VMA's, in classic Katy Perry style, she showed up together with Riff Raff, wearing matching outfits paying tribute to the iconic denim look.
8. Macy Gray
Before Instagram and Twitter, musicians had to get creative to promote their albums. Macy took it upon herself to promote it at the biggest event of the year by wearing it. She wore a blue and pink gown with the writing "MY NEW ALBUM DROPS SEPT. 18 2001" and on the back side "BUY IT!"
9. Nicki Minaj
Nick Minaj sporting all of Lady Gaga’s used costumes from The Fame era.
10. Lady Gaga
My favorite Lady Gaga VMA look is her Alexander McQueen gown with a gold feathered Philip Tracey hat. Gaga looked like an oil painting that should be held at the Louvre.