Jul 142014


Javinia Swiatek The Sugar Coup NYC Profile

Sidney: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Javinia: My name is Javinia, I’ve lived in a few different places in New York, and I make South American inspired confections for The Sugar Coup NYC.

Sidney: You have a very interesting collection of jewelry. Tell us a little bit about where they come from and where you shop for jewelry.
Javinia: Thanks! I bought some of the bracelets, mostly wooden, from Hangzhou at Wushan Night Market. Some of the other bracelets were a gift my friend brought from Lahore and others were a gift my cousin brought from New Delhi. I got the pointy wooden earrings when I was visiting a friend in San Jose, CR. Most of my earrings are from Arequipa and Lima, many were gifts from aunts.

Javinia Swiatek The Sugar Coup NYC Jewelry

When I want to specifically buy Peruvian jewelry and I don’t foresee a trip in the near future, I go to Tumi in Port Jefferson. When I’m looking for nonspecific jewelry, I love looking at the earrings and just about anything else that Still House carries but I always end up getting them as a gift for someone else.

Javinia Swiatek The Sugar Coup NYC Jewelry

Sidney: How about clothes and shoes? What are your favorite spots in the city or sites online?
Javinia: My two favorite spots to shop for clothes in New York are Something in Mind and Nu New York. I’m always trying to narrow down the number of shoes I have. I have four pairs right now: sneakers, flip flops, heels, and oxfords. I mostly stick to sneakers these days except for some meetings.

Sidney: What’s the one thing that you really love about New York? What’s the one thing you hate?
Javinia: The one thing I really love about New York is that most of my family are a train or two away, or nearby in New Jersey. I always imagined that I would have to wait until retirement in order to have more time with my family, so I’m really happy that I have the opportunity to spend time with them at my age.

The one thing I hate about New York…I honestly can’t think of something that I hate, sorry.

Javinia Swiatek Garden

Sidney: Do you partake in the nightlife in New York? What are your favorite spots?
Javinia: My friends and I try to schedule any kind of time in to see each other, it’s usually not at a club or lounge. We usually grab food or hang out at each other’s places. We don’t get to see each other super often so I wouldn’t want to risk going somewhere where I wouldn’t be able to hear the other person.

Sidney: What are your hobbies outside of cooking?
Javinia: Eating. Going to improv shows. Going to The Nuyorican Poets Cafe for open mic. Checking out what’s up on remezcla.com. Going to Americas Society/Council of the Americas events. I’ve been revisiting my old Pinyin notebooks lately, it’s a struggle.

Sidney: Since you attend a good number of fairs in the city, which are your favorite ones, both as a vendor and as a customer/visitor?
Javinia: As a visitor, my favorite is Hester Street Fair. My favorite vendors there are WanderNosh and Mamak. As a vendor, it’s challenging to pick a favorite fair because I’ve learned so much from each one. I’m going to be at Brooklyn Night Bazaar for all of July, and I haven’t gotten the chance to go as a visitor yet so I have no idea what to expect other than music, lights, and lots of food.

Javinia Swiatek The Sugar Coup NYC Profile

Sidney: Which neighborhoods in the city do you like the most?
Javinia: I like the area that used to all be considered “Lower East Side”. Outside of Manhattan, I like going to Flushing and Astoria. I lived in Astoria for under a year, I still go to visit one of my friends. Last week I went to The Paper Factory Hotel on 36th Street, to meet some of the Mundo team. I’m really excited for them to open up their restaurant. They gave me so many recommendations, they were super sweet.

Sidney: Where all have you traveled to, both inside the US and abroad? Which city did you personally feel had the best sense of fashion?
Javinia: Inside the US, I’ve traveled to most of the cities that lay on the East Coast as well as Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Outside the US, I’ve traveled to Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, Peru of course, Germany, Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Czech Republic, India and China. I’m not able to qualify any area as having a better sense of fashion over than another, but the most prominent fashion memory I have is from being around students in Hangzhou in 2009. I remember an abundance of dresses with ruffles and lace paired with pearl necklaces.

Javinia Swiatek Outdoor

Sidney: What do you think about the fashion scene in New York?
Javinia: I don’t really think about it while I’m here. I only start thinking about New York’s fashion scene when I’m in other US cities because I’m reminded that not all metropolitan areas are diverse like New York.

Javinia Swiatek Street Photo

Sidney: Tell us a little bit about how you got started as a food entrepreneur in New York City.
Javinia: I’m Javinia, I lived in a few different places in New York and most of my family is from Arequipa, Peru. I was fortunate enough to grow up around cousins, aunts, grandparents, and a large group of family friends here that are also from Peru.

My dad was a US born chef, and when he traveled to Arequipa to meet my mother’s family, he tried alfajores for the first time. He came back to the US and started making them, and eventually taught me as well. Around six years ago, he knew he was going to pass away soon and I remember that he stocked our kitchen with brand new rolling pins, cookie cutters, knives, and pots and pans. He was aware that I never used rolling pins or cookie cutters for anything but making alfajores so I probably subconsciously read too much into this, and started making alfajores for other people after his passing. I named the service “Jimmito’s Alfajores”. His American name was Jimmy, but the way I heard him being addressed in my family was “Jimmito” so I thought it fitting. The alfajores were a larger size back then and I was primarily delivering late night to fellow students at The George Washington University.

My dad often spoke of wanting to open up a Peruvian restaurant but it was too much of a risk for us. That was probably another factor that led to the start of Jimmito’s Alfajores. I was young and I didn’t share the concerns and responsibilities that my dad had to consider.

Javinia Swiatek Making Alfajores

Sidney: Tell us a little about the Alfajores that you make, and how they are unique.
Javinia: My alfajores are miniature sized and they have a very flaky cookie. I did not start out like this but today, I make them 12 at a time. Each flavor has very simple ingredients and they all have dulce de leche on the inside. Besides the original flavor, I make Citrus Sriracha, Feliz Cumpleaños, Café con Leche, and Sesame Red Bean. I’m hoping to have a gluten-free alfajor ready soon and once the first version of that is ready, I’m going to be working on a dairy-free alfajor.

Javinia Swiatek Making Alfajores

Sidney: What are your favorite cuisines?
Javinia: Peruvian is my favorite by far and Chinese is my second favorite.

Sidney: What are some of your favorite spots to eat out in New York?
Javinia: Hmm…the place I’ve been returning to lately is La Esquina to pick up their elotes. There’s usually no space to eat at the counter so I ask for them to go. One of my dad’s friends made elotes engulfed in melting cheese, in Jackson Heights in the 90s, but he’s no longer there (I’ve looked) so La Esquina is my substitute for now. Another favorite is Golden Shopping Mall in Flushing.

Javinia Swiatek Making Alfajores

Sidney: What was the most difficult thing for you personally about starting out on your own?
Javinia: The most difficult thing was deciding to change the size or flavor of the original alfajores I grew up making. I used to think it would be disrespectful and I still feel uneasy about it from time to time. The alfajor has taken on various flavors and sizes in its lifetime. In Tacna, I’ve eaten wafer-like alfajores the size of my outstretched hand that have honey instead of dulce de leche on the inside. Peruvian cuisine has long incorporated flavors from other cuisines too, one of the most common styles in Peru is Chifa which is Chinese influenced. For example, the name of the Chifa dish “arroz chaufa” comes from the two words “chǎo” and “fàn”, which together mean “fried rice”. Despite all this, I think I’m not completely at ease because I personally don’t like eating today’s fusion Peruvian food. I can’t explain it well, I just don’t like the word “fusion.”

Sidney: How supportive were your family and friends regarding your decision to follow a non-traditional career path?
Javinia: It’s non-traditional when compared to what I studied, but I feel like it’s very commonplace when I think of the increasing trend of self-employment. The conversation with my family around whether or not I should be doing this evolved to discussing how this can be carried out in better ways. My friends are really supportive as well, they’ve all reached out to help in one way or another.

Javinia Swiatek Making Alfajores

Sidney: Was it a tough choice quitting a full-time job? What factors were you weighing when you were taking that decision?
Javinia: It was a really tough choice for me. It took me a very long time just to obtain an internship in New York after college even with plenty of experience on my resume. My apprehension about transitioning my full-time focus was coming from wanting to hold onto something that once seemed impossibly out of reach.

At a certain point when I was juggling a few different jobs, I realized there was no way to move forward in all of them at the same time. I knew that I didn’t want to wait until the absolute breaking point to make a decision.

Sidney: What advice do you have for other young people in the city looking to start out on their own ventures?
Javinia: Talk to as many people as you can to hear their stories, whether they’re in your field or not. Know that you always have room to improve in every aspect of what you’re doing. Don’t glamorize the idea of “entrepreneurship” and don’t glamorize the food industry.

Sidney: What’s the next goal for your business?
Javinia: The next goal for me is to have 24/7 access to a shared kitchen space, or to have my own kitchen space.

Javinia Swiatek Making Alfajores

Sidney: The food industry in New York is known to be very competitive. How do you handle the competition and stand out?
Javinia: I reach out to other alfajor makers to chat and to order their alfajores. Everyone in the food industry that I met has been generous with their time and forthcoming with suggestions. My alfajores are miniature sized and the texture is quite different from most alfajores that I’ve eaten, but everyone has their own style and ingredient preference. There are always new ways to improve and I appreciate all the advice I’ve received from fellow food makers.

Sidney: What’s one thing you would like to change about the food industry in New York?
Javinia: This can go in so many directions so I’ll keep it light. The food industry in New York could be remarkably improved by…experimenting with more varied bandana styles.

 Posted by at 10:41 pm
Mar 082014

Understand Fashion is pleased to feature the lovely Kristina Filippova, a part-time model who is originally from Ukraine and has traveled extensively all over the world. She isn’t a full time model but don’t let that fool you – she’s an immensely talented artist. She is currently in New York and is a student. We catch up with her about her life and passions.


Sidney: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Kristina: I am Kristina. I am a Ukranian student who came to New York City a couple of years ago. And I love to travel!

Sidney: Where all have you traveled to?
Kristina: I used to live in Turkey and then I moved to New York now. In the future, I want to go to Thailand, India and countries of Africa.


Sidney: Which country do you find the people with the best fashion sense?
Kristina: Fashion sense, I think New York City. I could say the US, but specifically New York City.

Sidney: What kinds of fashion differences do you see between New York and where in Ukraine you’re from?
Kristina: New York city, I like to see the fashion as two distinct categories – comfort fashion and high fashion. People in Ukraine care too much about how they look and what they wear. I think they are more stylish than New York.


Sidney: What type of fashion do you prefer?
Kristina: High fashion of course!

Sidney: Pick one thing that you like the most about New York
Kristina: Yellow cabs and night-life


Sidney: You like the yellow cabs of New York?
Kristina: Yes!

Sidney: And one thing you hate about New York?
Kristina: It’s dirty


Sidney: You’ve been in New York for about 2 years now, what’s the one thing you miss the most about Ukraine?
Kristina: I miss the shopping centers. They are huge with everything under one roof.

Sidney: At a personal level, what attracts you to modeling and fashion industry?
Kristina: Nothing special, I just want to try things out. I think it’s fun. I want to get experience and turn it into something fun.

Sidney: Is this something you would consider as a career option or is this just a hobby?
Kristina: No, for me this is just a hobby.


Sidney: Where do you shop in New York for your clothes?
Kristina: Usually it’s different stores. I try to find something special and unique for my wardrobe. SoHo is my favorite place where I shop.

Sidney: What about your accessories and jewelry?
Kristina: They are from everywhere! I bought them in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania from all over the place.


Sidney: Any advice for women looking to be more fashionable without spending a fortune?
Kristina: First of all, people need to find out their style and what they are comfortable with, that also complements their lifestyle and other aspects of who they are. Try to find some clothes that hide your flaws and some that can show the good parts of your body.

Sidney: Any thoughts on the New York fashion scene?
Kristina: I like the women with fur coats and heels and the dresses they wear. I don’t like the many touristy areas of New York though, like Times Square.




 Posted by at 11:26 am
Jul 082013

Olga Nothing to Wear

Olga is a fashion entrepreneur, helping women choose their wardrobe at an affordable price. She runs a successful eBay store  – Nothing to Wear for her fashion collections (this is a reincarnation of Rich and Fabulous store that Olga ran for a while). She was in New York to attend a fashion conference and I was able to catch up with her and chat about her business, fashion and tips she has in these areas. Olga has also recently started her own fashion blog that you should definitely check out for latest ideas and tips on fashion. After all, she knows what she’s talking about!

Hope you enjoy the interview

Sidney: Tell us a little bit about yourself – how exactly are you into the fashion industry
Olga: I am originally from Russia and I moved here when I finished college. I have a major in business. Here I worked in few different fields, from bartending to personal trainer! But fashion is something that always interested me. I always liked to wear nice clothes but I never considered it as a career until recently.

Sidney: When did you come to New York?
Olga: About 6 years ago

Olga Nothing to Wear

Sidney: How do you like the fashion world as compared to the other jobs that you’ve had?
Olga: I like it much better because it is something I really enjoy doing. Plus, I really enjoy working for myself so I can set my own hours and terms. I feel like everything I do is going to pay off. I know this is something for me – I like the freedom of making my own hours.

Sidney: Did you own any businesses before getting in the fashion industry?
Olga: No, but I have a degree in business. I was planning to get a regular 9-5 job working for someone else, but it didn’t work out quite as well, so I decided to try something different.

Sidney: Do you have any modeling experience personally?
Olga: I do have some modeling experience but it was mostly for fun. I participated in a few events and shows and few photo-shoots. I was also in a TV commercial but I never considered it as a job.

Sidney: How did you get started with the idea to have a fashion shop on eBay?
Olga: It started just as everyone else – just selling my own things. I’ve got way too many clothes and I love shopping! So I decided to sell something and buy something new. I watched this TV Show House of Consignment about Chicago online consignment store and I found it very inspiring that you can actually make a living off of it. I decided to give it a try and so far it’s been fun.

Olga Nothing to Wear

Sidney: Do you drop ship or do you personally pick everything?
Olga: I personally pick everything on my store.

Sidney: Tell me one thing that you like about the fashion industry the most.
Olga: I like that it’s a great way to express yourself and show your creativity and vision. It just makes you feel good, as someone said “Fashion is Wearable Art” and I agree with it. It makes you feel happy. It’s a very positive and beautiful industry.

Sidney: It must be very competitive though?
Olga: Yes, it is indeed very competitive!

Olga Nothing to Wear

Sidney: Where do you usually find your customers?
Olga: This is one of the reasons I started on eBay and not on my own website because eBay already has a customer base. Millions of people already shop on eBay so you don’t have to work that hard to try to get people to your store. There are also lots of people selling on eBay so you have to stand out.

Sidney: Are you active on social media?
Olga: I keep my Facebook page up to date and I am also active on Instagram.

Sidney: If you have to pick one thing that makes you special among so many sellers on eBay, what would you pick?
Olga: I try to provide the best customer service and I am top rated at everything I do. I also sell designer clothes for an affordable price and it isn’t easy to find.

Olga Nothing to Wear

Sidney: How and where do you personally shop?
Olga: I really like designer clothes but I am also a very savvy shopper. July is a great month to hunt for sales and bargains! I love to stock up on some unique items. I also have a very specific taste, so I know what I like and don’t like. That’s why I really like to go shopping by myself and not with a group of friends!

Sidney: How would you describe your fashion sense?
Olga: It’s trendy. I try to stay up to date with all the latest fashion trends but I also like to make it personal and unique. I would never buy something because something is in style right now and everybody else is wearing it. I like to have my own twist on these and make trends personal.

Sidney: Any special pieces of jewelry you own?
Olga: I like both real and fashion jewelry. I like it to be something special. My favorite piece is a vintage necklace that my boyfriend got for me. I really like vintage jewelry because there’s always an intriguing story behind it. When he got me this piece, I did some research about it and found out that it was made in 1920s, so it’s been out for a while. It still looks really beautiful – they used to make some really good pieces back then. I always wonder what occasion it was made for.

Olga 06

Sidney: You’ve been in Russia and the US. How would you compare the fashion sense of the two countries?
Olga: I think here people are a little bit more casual. I live in Virginia beach so I see most people in flip-flops and shorts all the time. Even in nice restaurants this is the case. I even went to see a play and people were in jeans and flip-flops. In Russia people really like to dress up. If you go the grocery store it feels like you’re in a fashion shop or something! Everyone wears heels and makeup. People really like to show off and dress up.

Sidney: What do you think about New York in general?
Olga: I love New York. I feel like home here – it’s one of my favorite cities. I visit here more than any other city. I know a lot of people don’t like it because it is busy and crowded but it doesn’t bother me at all. I love big cities.

Sidney: You’ve been in the fashion industry for a while now. Any advice to people coming into the industry who are new?
Olga: Do what you love. There was great advice from Oprah Winfrey who said “First find what you love, then figure out a way to make money from it”. I’d say find something you really like doing and then put all your passion and time into it and it will work. It never hurts to try. Even if it doesn’t work out, you can do something else but at least you won’t regret for the rest of your life that you didn’t try something.

Olga Nothing to Wear shop

Check out Olga’s Facebook page and her shop.

 Posted by at 9:55 pm
Dec 092012

Kelly Sparkles and ShoesFrom her initiation into fashion to sharing shopping secrets of New York, Kelly of Sparkles and Shoes has some interesting things to share. I got to interview Kelly for this blog this Saturday, over brunch at Le Pain Quotidien in the West Village, in New York.

Kelly is a recent college graduate from Georgetown in Washington DC and has since moved to New York for her job. Even though her blog, Sparkles and Shoes is relatively new, it is pretty popular already in some niche fashion blog-o-spheres. In addition to being a fashion blogger, Kelly works in advertising, was an avid swimmer through college, loves photography and travel.

I recommend following her blog and reading her wonderful and insightful posts about fashion and blogging and everything in between.

Sid: Tell us a little bit about how you got interested in fashion

Kelly: I’ve always been interested in fashion – when I was in high-school, it was very popular to make collages of trends to put it on the cover of your notebook. At that time, my parents only subscribed to BusinessWeek and Forbes! So I decided I need to subscribe to magazines like Vogue, Glamour and Seventeen. That’s when I started appreciating trends.

I wore a uniform every day to Catholic school, so I was so excited to wear fun clothes and dress up during the weekends and started adding to my collection. Then I went to college and I was like “I can wear whatever I want at any time, yay!”. But DC, which is where I went to college at, was relatively conservative. Fashion and advertising were something I was really interested in, and I thought maybe I could do both.

Last summer I interned for the Jones Group which is an apparel holding company where I got a lot of first-hand fashion experience. I wasn’t necessarily sure if I wanted to be in the industry because that wasn’t quite what I was looking for in terms of a job but it really opened my eyes from model casting to catalog shoots and about how little things can make such a huge difference with the outfits. And after almost 3 months, spending almost every day with stylists the amount of interesting things that people put together really opened my eyes.

Sid: So how did the transition to blogging happen?
Kelly: I decided I really like fashion and I have tons of favorite things. And I would always tell my friends about this great new mascara or a great new coffee table I found at some store. So I started a blog about my favorite things and I realized how much I liked fashion.

Kelly Sparkles and Shoes

Sid: So this isn’t your first blog?
Kelly: It is my first blog! I wanted to make more of a lifestyle blog, so three days a week I blog about fashion and the rest I blog about other things that I really like. A girl I went to college with has a very popular blog called The College Prepster. I was in classes with Carly, the writer of that blog for four years, and she would tell me about blogging and in August 2012, after two months of reading blogs, I started my own.

Sid: How did your personal style evolve over these months that you’ve been blogging?
Kelly: I am a little less conservative in what I wear. My style was very preppy and I’ve added a little more of unique pieces and I think I’ve become a little less mainstream. Certain things that bloggers do has inspired my personal style, like stacked bracelets or deciding what the neckline of my top necklace would be. I have also amassed an earring collection because I pretty much wear standard pearl studs everyday and now a couple of times a week I wear fun earrings. So I am more appreciative of fashion when writing about it and it’s influenced my style a little bit.

Sid: How much time do you spend on your blog every week?
Kelly: Actually writing posts, I would say about 5-10 hours a week. Then I spend a few more reading blogs and then a little bit more on my shopping. So say I decided I want to write a post about red shoes – did it last week. So I write the post, I feature a pair of my shoes and then I go through every website I like to find red shoes that I want to recommend to my readers.

Sid: So how do you promote your blog?
Kelly: My blog originally started out with my friends as recommendations of products. I also decided not to use my last name for privacy reasons, changed my Twitter from my last name to my middle name – I use Kelly Ann instead of my last name and I really started promoting it through Twitter. A lot of fashion bloggers follow me and I also participated in two group giveaways and got a lot of readers and membership through that. I’ve also done a few guest posts with other bloggers that I admire.

Kelly Sparkles and Shoes

Sid: Are you happy with the overall progress you’ve made so far with your blog?
Kelly: I think I am. I think my writing has really improved and my blog has become more focused. I have gained quite a following although it is still relatively small at less than 500 followers.

Sid: How would you describe your personal style?
Kelly: I would say my personal style is still very classic preppy and conservative with a little bit of fun and fashion thrown in. I still work at an office where you have to be covered up. There’s no shorts in this office. There is no cleavage or tank-tops. Then I really like expressing myself with shoes and jewelry.

I would also describe my style as a combination of investment pieces like pea coats and high quality, well made boots and less expensive more trendy things. I also believe fashion extends not only to your wardrobe but also to your jewelry, hair and makeup. When putting together a look I try to keep all of these things in mind to create a cohesive package fit for the event or situation. For accessories, including jewelry and bags, my favorites are Michael Kors and Kate Spade. For make up, I am a Sephora junkie, especially NARS and Urban Decay.

Sid: So what are your favorite accessories?
Kelly: I like statement necklaces – the one I am wearing, and I really like watches. I’ve collected quite a few and appreciate that as presents and a lot of my friends, for birthday or Christmas, get together and buy me a watch. It is also specially important in my industry to make sure I know what time it is for meetings and conferences; especially with clients when it is not appropriate to pull out your phone. And I like shoes; you can wear whatever kind of shoes you want at my office, so shoes are definitely a way I express myself.

Kelly Sparkles and Shoes

Sid: Is there any recurring color themes in your outfits?
Kelly: Royal Blue. Royal Blue is my color and I wear tons and tons of Royal Blue. My eyes change colors and sometimes they are blue and when I wear Royal Blue it tends to bring it out. I also really like turquoise for accessories. I have turquoise earrings, bracelets and watches. My main two watches have turquoise on them.

Sid: Which neighborhoods/areas in the city do you find to be the most fashionable?
Kelly: I really appreciate SoHo between Canal and Houston. That to me is a very eclectic group of people and I also think Williamsburg has some amazing fashions and not necessarily things I would wear but things I appreciate how people make put outfits together. I also really like the West Village. The Upper East to me is a little too conservative.

Sid: How do you get the inspiration for what you wear? Any specific process you go through when you put together a new outfit?
Kelly: Usually, the night before I decide what to wear and try to vary it up, like Monday, Wednesday, Friday I wear pants or Tuesday, Thursday, and other days I wear skirts or dresses, so it depends on what I wore the day before because I really try to vary it up. I also try to vary my color palette, so if I wore red today, the next day I’ll go with blue and the day after I’ll go with black. So I try and vary the colors and I have a great walking closet with a lot of options to choose from.

Sid: So you went to school in DC, right? How do you compare the fashion sense of the two cities, now that you are in New York.
Kelly: New York is infinitely better! Going to school at Georgetown was a very specific style – very preppy or very sporty. Basketball shorts to class were a very common thing which made me cringe. And if you went downtown it was either tourists or politics. Politics involved a very set look – very conservative, very neutral. New doesn’t really do neutral! I say that with a grain of salt because New Yorkers including myself love black. But, they are not afraid of color and it is not monotones of gray and black. I think New York is infinitely more fashionable.

Sid: Do you have any hidden gems in New York you go to shop at and would like to share? Probably something that isn’t very popular?
Kelly: I like going south of Canal on Broadway. There are a bunch of very small boutiques that carry a lot of interesting clothes that are not too revealing but still have very unique patterns. I am not a huge fan of things with logos. A Luis Vuitton bag with the pattern all over it is not really my style.

Kelly Sparkles and Shoes

Sid: Do you have any favorite brands or do you prefer more indie stuff?
Kelly: I definitely have favorite brands like J Crew. I like different patterned tops from Anthropologie. I shop a lot for basics at Ann Taylor and Loft. If I want to keep up with a trend but am not sure if that’s going to stay, I do very grudgingly shop at Forever 21, and understand that the pieces are not the best made and probably only going to last for that season.

Sid: Do you ever shop online?
Kelly: The only real time I shop for clothes online is when I am at the store and I try on something and they don’t have it in my size, then I’ll order it online. Or if it is a brand like J.Crew or Ann Taylor because I know this fit of pant in this size is what I buy.

Sid: What are your hobbies besides fashion?
Kelly: I love photography. I love taking pictures of anything and everything. My Instagram is all over the place but it’s things that I find unique. I also love traveling. I have had great opportunity growing up going to tons of different countries and places. With swimming I was lucky to go to national meets all over the country so I’ve spent a good amount of time in very small towns and some in very large cities I am not sure I would ever have visited if there wasn’t a swim meet there. I try and take at least one trip a quarter, so four trips a year. I am also getting into cooking – not so good at it yet, but I am trying and I really enjoy the challenge!

Sid: Which social networks do you spend most of your time on?
Kelly: Personally I spend time on Facebook, but not as much with my blog. I mainly promote my blog through Twitter and use it as an extension of my favorite things so i’ll post half about things about my blog and about current events and my day to day life. I am also a huge fan of Pinterest. That’s partially where I get some style inspiration, both for my outfits and what I want to talk about.

 Posted by at 10:42 pm
Nov 182012

Bernadeth Miss Beatrix

Miss Beatrixis a blog started by Bernadeth from the Philippines. She’s a tourism student and a part time photographer in addition to being a fashion blogger of course. Her blog is popular owing to her outfit posts and her fashion advice. She has a great taste in skirts and dresses and in her own words, “I am the girl who is more comfortable wearing dresses or skirts instead of pants. I usually get inspired by music videos and paparazzi photos of artists. So weird but yeah, I am inspired by them!”

I got to interview Bernadeth for my blog about her journey as a blogger and about her personal sense of fashion. Hope you enjoy reading.

Sidney: When did you interest in fashion begin? When did you seriously think about blogging about it?
Bernadeth: I’ve always been interested in fashion ever since I was a little girl but it grew even stronger when I started traveling a lot and got the chance to see awesome clothes and stylish people from other countries.

Sidney: How was your blogging journey been so far? How do you deal with the ups and downs of blogging?
Bernadeth: My idea of blogging started when people would compliment my outfit and so, I had an idea – why not share it to other people? And then I did. I created a blog just a few weeks when I arrived from Canada and at that time, I knew I had to share the outfits that I wore from my trip and luckily, a lot of people liked it and I continued updating my blog.

I guess in everything that you do there will always be ups and downs, I have been blogging for almost two years now but I got so active just a few months ago. You just have to be positive and choose the people who you can trust.

Sidney: How would you describe your overall sense of style?
Bernadeth: I guess it would be a mix of something girly but with a little twist of being edgy. I would always wear dresses or skirts but sometimes, I just can’t help myself to wear spikey accessories, cuffs etc.

Bernadeth Miss Beatrix

Sidney: What are your favorite fashion blogs and magazines that you follow?
Bernadeth: My favorite blogs are The Golden Diamonds, Kayture, Its Camille Co and Fashiononymous, every time I go online I just have to visit them to see their newest post and they are also my inspiration when it comes to blogging. For magazines, I love Teen Vogue and our local magazine here in the Philippines, Candy.

Sidney: I assume you read about fashion from all over the world. How do you think fashion in Philippines is different than say United States, if at all?
Bernadeth: Here in my country, we only have summer — all year round, it’s very hot and we only got the chance to wear sweaters if it’s a rainy day or Christmas so, I guess fashion in my country is very different since we only have a closet filled with summer-y clothes.

And also, in other countries they wouldn’t care about what you are wearing but here in the Philippines, when I wore the outfits that you can see in my blog, everyone would stare at me from head to toe, sometimes they would say nice things or sometimes they would ask “why is she wearing boots?” haha! The funny thing is, wearing boots here in my country is not common.

Sidney: What are the places you would like to travel to personally, just for absorbing their fashion sense?
Bernadeth: Of course, the fashion capitals of the world … Paris, Tokyo, Miami and New York! Each of them portrays a different theme when it comes to fashion and I would love to take a risk when it comes to my outfit if I got the chance to visit one of them.

Bernadeth Miss Beatrix

Sidney: Do you have any personal favorites in terms of brands? Where do you usually shop at for your clothes?
Bernadeth: I am not really a person who likes branded stuff. If I like the style or design of something no matter what brand it is then I would buy it. My clothes are usually from Primark since my grandmother loves to buy clothes for me, thrift shops and H&M.

Sidney: When you started blogging in 2010, did you think your blog would be as popular as it is today? Are you happy with the progress you’ve made as a blogger?
Bernadeth: I have no idea that my blog would be gathering so many views and followers! Of course, I am. I feel really blessed with what’s happening on my blog ever since I became very active just a few months ago and couldn’t have been happier hearing compliments from my readers, family and friends.

Sidney: Where do you get the inspiration for your blog and your personal outfits?
Bernadeth: I get inspiration from magazines, other fashion blogs and music.

Bernadeth Miss Beatrix

Sidney: Do you have any favorite colors when it comes to your outfits? Any favorite outfits in general?
Bernadeth: I love the color black in my outfits because you can mix and match it with other colors and accessories. Right now, I would say this outfit is my favorite because it completely represents my style.

Sidney: Who is the photographer for your pictures?
Bernadeth: My little sister!

Sidney: If you could change one thing about your blog, what would it be?
Bernadeth: I guess it would be my posts last 2010 and 2011 – I did not update my blog frequently in those years unlike today, so I would really love to add more posts and be active during that time.

Sidney: How do you promote your blog?
Bernadeth: Social networking sites are very helpful in promoting my blog. I always link my newest posts in my Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr account. I also visit and comment random blogs to gather more views and followers.

 Posted by at 3:17 pm
Oct 272012

Kate Beauty in Insanity

I had the opportunity to interview Kate from Beauty in Insanity. It is a great fashion blog, but don’t mistake it for an outfit blog alone! Yes, she does post her lovely outfits and she does have a pretty unique sense of fashion, but the blog is much more interesting than that, and Kate isn’t afraid to open up a window into her personal thoughts and feelings. This makes the blog a lot of fun to read and there is usually something appealing to everyone!

Kate is from Bulgaria, so I couldn’t personally meet her for this interview, but it was a pleasure communicating with her through emails and she was kind enough to respond. She also offered to buy me beer if I visit Bulgaria, so looking forward to that!

I highly recommend her blog to all fashion lovers. In the interview below, she shares a lot of things about her fashion, her blogging experience so far and about her life in general. Hope you enjoy the interview.

Sidney: How did you get into fashion? Was this something you were always interested in or did something trigger this interest.
Kate: My love for fashion was a slow transition. Few years ago, I didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention of how I was dressed. I just didn’t care. But as time passed, I developed a new relationship with my wardrobe. For me, the trigger were those web sites with photos of thousands of different styles of girls around the world – for example lookbook. I saw them as some sort of art pieces, and I wanted to be part of that art too.

Sidney: Is fashion your first passion or are you a girl of many talents?
Kate: Does eating a whole bowl of gazpacho count as a talent? Hahah, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t 😀 But I do love photography. Nowadays everyone with a decent camera can produce beautiful images, but I try my best to make photos that are different and inspirational. I love to pour my own feelings and understanding of life in a photo. I wouldn’t post them on my blog yet, but maybe some day!
Another passions of mine (which I’m not sure counts as a talent) are books. If I had to choose to have a meaningless conversation with friends, or stay at home with a cocktail and a book, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the second.

Sidney: If you had to use one word to describe your overall style, what would it be and why?
Kate: One word? Oh, that’s a bit difficult. I think my style incorporates all sorts of styles in one, so maybe…sporty? Sporty, because I feel good in my skin with more boyish and comfy outfits. Sneakers are the love of my

Kate Beauty in Insanity

Sidney: How did you get into blogging about fashion? Tell us a little about how you started and your journey. Are you happy with the progress so far?
Kate: I got into blogging when I was lonely and when I was very disappointed with my life. I was studying something, which I gradually began to hate, I was living with boyfriend and he was at work most of the day, I didn’t have a lot of friends, just my sister. I didn’t have anyone to talk to, so blogging was a way to express my opinions, dreams, cravings. It was a way to let out steam. Right now I’ve finally graduated and looking forward to my Masters degree, we’re starting our own business with boyfriend and I’m always smiling like a dumb-ass. But I would never stop blogging, I love it too much, and I’ve gone too far to stop now. And I love all my readers, they’re the coolest!

Sidney: Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?
Kate: I get my inspiration from other blogs and other sites on fashion, sometimes from other girls I see on the street. I get inspiration from everywhere!

Sidney: Which blogs/magazines do you read/follow regularly?
Kate: I don’t like women’s magazines, I think they’re boring as hell. But my favorite blogs would be
All things bright, bling and everything in between<http://iloveagudbargain.blogspot.com/>,
EDGYMIX Travel for Fashion <http://www.edgymix.com>,
HYBRID HUNTER<http://hybrid-hunter.blogspot.com/>and
jazzabelle’s diary <http://jazzabellesdiary.blogspot.com/>.
And a lot more actually!

Kate Beauty in Insanity

Sidney: Do you have any specific brands you love? Where do you usually shop for your clothes and accessories?
Kate: Well a lot of my clothes are from second hand shops. I prefer thrift stores, although from time to time I buy expensive stuff, but then feel bad, because I spent 70$ on a cardigan -_- I love Mango, Pull & Bear and Asos. Oh, the first time I saw Asos, I was like : “Shut up and take my money!”

Sidney: How often does your hair change its length, style and color!
Kate: Waaaaay too often! I love change, change is good, people shouldn’t be afraid of it.

Sidney: Any fall fashion advice for our readers in 2012? Also, any advice to look chic and fashionable without spending a ton of money?
Kate: I don’t think I’m a fashion icon, so any advice from me would sound like: “hey I’m cooler than you!”, which I’m not! But I would advice girls to spend more time at the thrift store, if they want to save up money. Clothes on sales are still expensive, just because they’re on sale, doesn’t mean they’re reasonably priced.

Sidney: If you had to pick one outfit to wear for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Kate: Wow….that’s a hardy. Hmmm…Maybe- a t-shirt, gray hoodie, leather jacket, jeans and sneakers!

Kate Beauty in Insanity

Sidney: Which cities around the world do you think have the best overall sense of fashion? What is your dream fashion event you’d like to attend?
Kate: Hmmm… I hadn’t done a lot of traveling, so not sure how to answer this! Maybe New Yorkers? I’m not into fashion events either, they seem kind of stuck up.

Sidney: On an average, how much time do you spend blogging?
Kate: Not as much as I want. Maybe an hour or two.

Sidney: What are your pet peeves when it comes to fashion blunders? Feel free to rant.
Kate: I don’t have a lot of those. My most dreaded would be those shoes without heels. I mean what’s up with that? It’s just uncomfortable and weird.

Sidney: How do you like the overall sense of fashion of Bulgarians? Do you think it is very different from America?
Kate: Oh yes, Bulgarians are very different from Americans. We have a whole different lifestyle, so it’s only natural for us to wear different things. Bulgarians women are one of the prettiest in the world, but we dress sloppy waaay too often. We have crappy, ugly, dirty streets and it’s kind of hard to dress fashionably while you’re trying to make your way through a river of garbage. Another thing is that people here are not used to seeing girls dressed differently, so they stare and comment and it’s irritating.

Check out Kate’s blog Beauty in Insanity

 Posted by at 5:34 pm
Sep 202012

The Mirror On The Wall BloggersThe Mirror On The Wall is a fashion blog started by three students about 6 months ago. It is a personal fashion blog that almost seconds as a photography blog as well. It’s success is enviable, with close to 7500 visitors last month alone. There are lots of tips and insights into the lives of these bloggers.

I really like the idea of a blog reflecting the thoughts of all three of the bloggers in one place. Another great thing? The posts are written in English and Spanish for a multi-cultural and multi-lingual experience. The blog isn’t a typical run-of-the-mill outfit blog which is nice. There is some high quality photography and a natural street-style sensibility to most outfits. There is a natural tendency to make their fashion intuitive and affordable which is a nice angle to cover. Wish them all the best!

The people behind the blog

They all go by the first letter of their names.


The Mirror On The Wall Blogger M (Maja)

Maja is an American student who has lived and worked in six different countries. She is studying international finance and marketing, and has developed a love for fashion after interning at Gucci at age 19. Writing has always been a passion of hers, and she contributes stories to a local Bostonian fashion column. As a result of her upbringing in several countries, she has a profound appetite for understanding different cultures, and tries to infuse this into The Mirror on the Wall.


The Mirror On the Blog Elena (E)

Elena has a dual French and Spanish nationality and speaks four languages (French, Spanish, English, and Italian). She was born and raised in Madrid and developed her love for photography from her father. Since she was very young, she loved styling her own outfits, but it was at age 16 that she really became fascinated fashion. Since then she has been collecting editions of Vogue from around the world in order to get a full understanding of fashion beyond borders.


The Mirror On The Wall Alexandra (A)

Alejandra is a Spanish accounting student, who is also fluent in French, Spanish, and English. When she attended the University of the Arts London summer styling program, she became fascinated with the creative aspects of the fashion industry. She has been learning photography from her father, and her love of the subject has only increased with the blog.

The Interview

I got a change to interview Maja, one of the three bloggers who co-own The Mirror On The Wall. She mostly speaks for all three of them though. Here is what she has to share.

Sidney: Your blog is a really nice mix of the thoughts of all three of you. Tell us more about how you met and how long you’ve known each other.
Maja: The three of us met in September 2012 through an international business school program, where we would all study and work in France for 1-2 years. We became roommates in Paris that January, and started our blog after realizing that we shared an immense passion for photography, fashion, and writing. We wanted it to be a creative outlet for us, and it became so much more than that!

Sidney: Who came up with the idea of a blog? Did any of you blog before?
Maja: None of us had any blog experience before this, so it was a substantial learning curve at first! While I proposed the idea of the blog, it was all three of us that came together in the end and decided to create it. It has been a team effort throughout the process, and this has actually led us to increase our level of creativity! What we wanted to do was create a blog that not only generated fashion inspiration, but also took advantage of our various backgrounds to provide insights about different cultures.

Sidney: In your travels through Europe and US, which city did you find to have the best sense of fashion in general?
Maja: This is a difficult question to answer because all of the cities that we have visited have their own unique and wonderful style. However, in terms of men’s fashion, Rome was definitely a winner because their focus on tailored suits and beautifully crafter leather left us awestruck! For the women, Paris was definitely one of our favorite fashion capitals, emphasizing elegant and classic looks that proved timeless.

Sidney: Where do you personally prefer to shop for your clothes and accessories? Any favorites?
Maja: Zara is definitely a huge favorite because it incorporates constantly changing inventory and really funky items into its collection. Also, it is much more affordable than luxury brands! Additionally, in Paris, we discovered a vast array of vintage stores, which were especially neat for discovering bold retro items distinct from what’s trending at the moment.

Sidney: What’s the future of the blog now that you are in the US and your friends in Europe?
Maja: It is a bittersweet phenomenon that we are separate by an entire ocean, but we are extremely excited to continue posting from all different locations. This will enable us to give readers a broader perspective, incorporating international styles from around the world.

Sidney: Which is the best fashion event that you’ve personally attended?
Maja: Last March, the three of us managed to sneak into the Steffie Christiaens fashion show at Paris spring 2012 fashion week! This was the first major fashion show that we attended, and it was beautifully executed, exuding a cool, funky atmosphere and exhibiting great, wearable looks. Maybe it was the adrenaline rush of getting into the show, or the fact that it was our first one, but this definitely stands out in our memory the most!

Sidney: Any general advice for people looking to be fashionable without spending a fortune on clothes and accessories?
Maja: Truthfully, most of the clothing on our blog is very affordable. We try to take our favorite ad campaigns and looks of them season, and reinvent them in our own way using brands at decent price points. Fashion should not be about who can spend the most money on a particular brand, but rather how well you can put pieces together to create something unique. Zara and H&M are two of our favorites!

Sidney: How would you describe your blogging experience so far?
Maja: Our blog experience has been absolutely wonderful thus far. Not only have we discovered new and creative passions, but it has strengthened our friendship significantly, and leads us to communicate daily with each other across the Atlantic! Blogging has inevitably increased some of our knowledge of the fashion industry and photography, as we constantly try to incorporate something new.

Sidney: Are you happy, overall, with the popularity of your blog? Did the actual performance overwhelm or underwhelm your expectations?
Maja: When we started our blog, we did not expect to get many views at all, so our expectations have definitely been exceeded. We have even developed friendly relationships with fellow bloggers, and hope to continue to grow the success of our blog in the future.

Sidney: What fashion magazines and blogs do you regularly follow?
Maja: The Satorialist is a great and inspiring blog that I look to for daily inspiration. It has a significant focus on stunning photography and street looks so that it stands out from the rest. The author has a different perspective from the rest of the bloggers, and it is what makes this blog so unique.

In terms of magazines, the three of us all prefer Spanish Vogue because it differentiates itself from the rest. It incorporates a lot more street style and places emphasis on creating great looks, rather than focusing 75% of its publication on advertisement. The content creates value for the user and we find it very inspirational.

Don’t forget to check out their lovely blog at The Mirror On The Wall