Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Style File: Sweet Caroline

Since I was fifteen I've been sharing fun adventures with young local artist Caroline Schiller, or as our friends call her "Skrilla". I have memories of her talent displayed in the hallways of Episcopal High, specifically, one of my favorites, a self portrait on canvas she completed junior year. 
Always admiring her unique style, I was shocked one afternoon when she confessed to never following trends or mainstream fashion magazines. Caroline's look has always been cutting edge, she can pretty much pull off anything because she knows exactly how to distinguish her beautiful silhouette. 
Her creativity is not only evident in her ensembles, but  is  brought to life in her paintings.  
Displayed across the best eateries in the city (RDG, The Grove, The Lakehouse), Caroline's creations depict worlds that I want to step into.  As she works on her latest project, a mural on the terrace at RDG, I gather from this old friend her inspirations, style, and favorite local hangouts. 

 Gig: "I work at RDG/Bar Annie part-time and then I paint as much and often as possible. At RDG, I hostess and also do any creative projects that need to be done for the restaurant like making signs and advertisements. The biggest thing I do at the moment though is art work for the Schiller-Del Grande restaurants. I have large paintings in RDG and The Grove, a mural in The Lakehouse restaurant and I just got commissioned to do some for the new restaurant opening in October. Besides the commissions I have for the restaurants, I am also just trying to do as many of my own personal pieces as possible so that I can show them in a gallery asap. "

RDG Brunch
Mural in The Lake House
Artist at work, RDG Terrace

Look: "90%  mood, 10% occasion. To be honest, I really never cared very much about fashion until recently. I’ve done 2 Outward Bound programs in my past. As amazing as they were, those experiences pretty much squashed any sense of fashion or style I ever had because I was hanging around these awesome (yet super intense) wilderness fanatics who wear the same Underarmor shirt and pair of Patagonia shorts for days at a time and could probably not comprehend spending more than 20 bucks on anything (except for outdoors gear). However, then I lived in France for 4 months. That experience changed everything and completely opened my eyes to the idea of three things: 1. Caring about good quality clothes 2. The importance of looking good and presenting yourself well. And 3. The idea that what you wear everyday can be just like painting, it’s a very pure form of self-expression."

Inspiration: "I’m an intensely emotional and passionate person, sometimes to a fault, so a lot of my paintings are expressions of the strong emotions I feel which fortunately also provide an outlet for them. I also get very inspired by words, specifically quotes by famous people I admire.
The human language can be so poetic and beautiful and I love to illustrate the beauty and power of words through my art."

"Love is Real"
"Were all Mad Here"

I'm a huge fan of your mom's design, how has growing up around her work inspired you?

             "she is literally my best friend but as similar and inseparable as we are, we actually have very different styles and ways in which we go about creating our work. She is very methodical and pensive and extremely detail-oriented. She can work for a year designing a restaurant, picking out literally every detail until she is completely satisfied. I am the opposite- impulsive, messy and impatient.
When I have a vision in mind I have to literally start it that day and cannot rest until I am finished. Otherwise, if I work on it for too long, I get distracted by another idea and start that one without ever finishing the previous one. Its ironic, though because even though my mom is an artist as well, she was never one of the reasons I started doing art I just found myself having the natural desire to do it, like she did. Well I guess I got the genes from her.... one thing she has always taught me is to follow what you are truly passionate about and that it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you always strive for excellence in that one thing."

Painting for her Mama
Snag her style:  "I’ve always cared more about the quality of my jewelry than my clothes. I LOVE good jewelry but am very picky. I know its super uncool of me to be like this but I absolutely hate wearing bracelets... just because I don’t like having things on my arms. But I love rings, necklaces and earrings, especially really good pieces that signify a special occasion in my life. That being said I’m a huge bargain clothes shopper. I would describe my style as bold, random, mis-matched and very feminine. I love floral prints, lace and eye catching high heels. But I also love vintage tee-shirts and a great pair of perfectly-fitting jeans. I’m not very good with paying attention to trends but if I notice a look I love, I go straight for it with my very next outfit."

Showing off Parisian dress
Fiesta with old friends
Go-To Shops: "I've been shopping at Tootsies my whole life. Since I’m a bargain shopper I love obviously love Forever 21, Zara and Loehmans. But besides those, I love any random boutique in Paris- you can always duck into a tiny little no-name boutique off the street and find something beautiful, elegant, unique and timeless. Also since my boyfriend lived in Charleston, South Carolina , I got to explore that amazing town and have to say, they have a lot of great little jewelry stores with incredible pieces that are unique and one of a kind. "

The lovely couple as Brangelina for Halloween
Fav Spots:  "Probably the place I go the most to grab food and some drinks is Taco Milagro. I love Mexican food and margaritas! However I also gotta have my Texas BBQ and Good Co. has the absolute best in my opinion. For a nice romantic dinner, I think Indika is one of the best restaurants in Houston. As for having a little fun, my boyfriend and I love playing pool so if there's a pool table, we’re there and will be stuck playing for hours."

(Images per Annina Stefanelli & Caroline Schiller)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mi Italia

Twas a disappointing futbol week for Cinched, for my team had a surprising early exit with a loss to Slovakia. The defending World Cup Champions were by far the most boring team to watch. It wasn't the disappointing gut turning sadness I recall in the 1994 World Cup, or the anger in 1990 and 2002.  I feel deprived of the emotional roller coaster viewing this game causes you to go through. My team, which is the second nation with the most World Cup Championships, really did let their fans down.
Fortunately, I am thankful for for reminding me what I love most about mi Italia with Tommy Takes Milan. "Tommy Ton hits the streets of Italy to shoot the fashion set at the menswear shows. His findings: little clutches are very big, color is as hot as it gets, and you can never ever have too much jewelry." -Tommy Takes Milan


Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Power Berry

I've become quite obsessed with a berry this summer, and tis not the one I have my fingers cinched around ninety percent of the day. I had no idea  how powerful yet magical Blueberries are. Not only loaded with antioxidants,  this fruit has been found to battle belly fat, hence magical (FitSugar).

"This little berry tops almost every list of superfoods. Not only do blueberries battle belly fat, they are an antioxidant powerhouse. High in both vitamins C and A, blueberries contain flavonoids that help prevent ovarian cancer and tannins to fight urinary tract infections. This berry aids digestion and is said to help relieve both diarrhea and constipation.Aside from topping yogurt and oatmeal with the berry, I like to bake blueberry almond coffee cake for summertime brunches. You can even add blueberries to your burgers to fight the carcinogens the accompany grilling meat."-FitSugar

My parfait at Tiny Boxwood's, Extra Blueberries please!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Back 2 Skool


In order to advance my academia I am currently prepping for a standardized test. I shall begin to use Cinched as a venue to practice the vocabulary words I should have acquired in the five brief years I completed my bachelor's degree...I present WORD OF THE WEEK!

without adornment; bare; severely simple; ascetic

 Before Alaina came to the rescue Cinched's austere header turned away readers. 

(The Princeton Review Cracking the GRE 2011 Edition) 

Supersize Me

7am, alarm rings. I open my laptop and even before I brush my teeth I'm on checking out "Whats New." I've had this routine pretty much since high school, except back then I was on shopbop all through first period English class.
I don't buy something everyday, its my version of window shopping, only better because I am in bed.
What caught my eye this am were Adia Kibur Jumbo Hair clips. I've seen these giant cliparoos on shopbop before but now I'm just obsessed, how awesome are these babies?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Custom Clogin

They seem to be everywhere, yet ya can't seem to get a hold of a clog that defines your style?  I present Maguba, clogs that not only are absolutely original, but you can design your own! 
Maguba clogs came to me via DailyCandy and I instantly fell for their various clog designs, from traditional close toe clogs to open toe styles in vibrant colors with perfect height heels and platforms. These adorable cloggers make great daily go tos!


Developed in London by a young group of friends, Maguba Clogs are "handmade in our family-owned factory, using techniques that go back several generations. In 2009 we developed a new design concept combining Traditional Swedish craftmanship with a touch of latin spice, razzle-dazzle, and colour...For every pair of clogs sold we make a donation to plant new woodland- making sure that new happy trees grow up to reduce our carbon footprint." -About Us


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Style File: Cheers to Alaina

Cinched at the Waist would pretty much be naked without the mastermind behind our header, business cards, icon image, and twitterpage design, Alaina of Live Creating Yourself.
It was through friend and fellow blogger, Bailey of Peppermint Bliss, that I was able to find the Chicago based graphic designer. The second I saw LCY's header I instantly became a fan and knew that I'd found perfect graphic designer to create a new look for Cinched at the Waist. By far the easiest interview of the Stylefile series, all I had to do was email the blogging wiz a series of questions and wala! For our first guest post Cinched proudly presents the secrets behind our graphic designer's style,  inspirations, and fav spots.

1. Gig: whats your official title and occupation?

By day, I'm a graphic designer for the nonprofit, Every Child Matters. By night, I write the lifestyle blog Live Creating Yourself and design and sell prints in my etsy shop, LCYgraphics.

2. Look: Do you dress for the occasion or according to your mood?
I always dress for the occasion. I work from home, so I'm usually wearing t-shirts and loungewear during the day. But as soon as I have somewhere to go, I'll throw on skinny jeans or my J.Crew Minnie pants with a fun top. I often grab my navy Tory Burch blazer and a colorful pair of flats or heels - again, shoes depend on the occasion. Flats for afternoon and casual outings, heels for dinners and parties. Here you can see three different ways I styled my favorite black Minnie pants.

3. Inspiration: Where do you get your inspiration from when designing?
Blogs. Blogs. And oh, did I mention blogs? All of my fashion, interior, and graphic design inspiration comes from things I see on other blogs or in doing research for Live Creating Yourself. The other biggest source of inspiration is in the graphic design of packaging. I loooove pretty packaging. I even asked the sales clerk of Sucré in New Orleans if I could take a bag home because the colors and design just struck a chord with me. I almost always save the packaging of an item if it put a smile on my face. I work from home and my office is just filled with things that inspire me... everything from books, to art, to packaging!

4. Snag her style: Perhaps name a few of your fav and go to pieces for the season.
My summer style is colorful and comfortable with a ton of fun jewelry. I like loose fitting tops, skinny capris, or a short shift dress. My current favorite go-to outfit, however, is my very first maxi dress from Boden. It's black and can be dressed up or down. It's the most comfortable thing I've ever owned.

5. Go-To Shops: what are your favs, can be local or shops you love to go to in your travels?
For better or worse, I have been a walking advertisement for J.Crew since sixth grade. It's actually kind of ridiculous how many items in my closet are from that store. But their pieces just fit me perfectly, the quality is great, and the price point isn't insane. I also love Theory and usually find their cute tops for half off at Loehman's or Nordstrom Rack. As for home goods, I'm a huge fan of Anthropologie's home decor and West Elm has a lot of versatile contemporary pieces I've coveted. Otherwise I'm an avid thrift store/flea market kinda gal. Nothing thrills me like a cheap find and a good DIY makeover. My dining chairs, for example, were a Craigslist purchase. I bought all four for $70, painted them grey and recovered them. Most dining chairs are at least $100 a piece, so this was a steal, and I get so many compliments on them.

When it comes to where I shop when I travel, I can really only speak to New York and London because they are the only other cities I've spent enough time in to the point where I've become familiar with the shopping districts. So, for New York, I'd say Soho, hands down has the best shops. It's a great mix of home goods and fashion. As for London, I adore the Covent Garden area. The market is one of my favorites and there are a bunch of great boutiques lining the surrounding streets.

6. Fav Spots: Where are your go to's in Chicago?
My favorite place to go in Chicago for home goods is Clark Street in Andersonville on the North Side. That neighborhood is home to Scout, Patina, George Lowell, Four Sided, and White Attic, to name a few of my favorites. My go-to for clothing and shoes would be the Oak Street and Michigan Avenue area downtown. Some of my favorite stores include Tory Burch, Nordstrom, J.Crew, Ralph Lauren, and my favorite, Filene's Basement, where I can find some of my favorite designers at huge discounts (Theory, Tory Burch, and BCBG to name a few).

Images & Post per Alaina

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jorts and stripes

Stripes and cutoffs, cutoffs and stripes....that's all I'm seeing this summer. 

Image per

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How are you wearing your stripes?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Guilt Free?

I have a shopping problem, I blame Gilt. Just three clicks and I'm in. No help from a salesperson, no bag, no going to the mall...its this simple: open, see item you like, pick size, pick shipping and it arrives at your house in a few days...Literally...3 clicks. I've been doing that all month....boxes and boxes.
Ahhhhh I'm such a sucker for a SALE!!! 
Gilt, I don't know what I would do without you.
I can't remember the last time I bought something at full price.

Purchase of the day:

Image per gilt

 (A total steal right??)