Envision Artopia: Fall 2013

Better late than never, right? 

Back in September, I attended the Fall 2013 presentation of "Envision Artopia" as a kickoff event for Twin Cities Fashion Week.  

Envision Artopia is an evening of local art, fashion, and music.  There are two runway shows featuring items from boutiques around town and from Minnesota based designers.  Before and between these shows, attendees can sip on drinks from local wineries and breweries and peruse and purchase art by local artists curated by RAW Visual Artist Gallery.  In addition, there is a silent auction from which the proceeds (and $1 of each ticket) benefit Public Functionary.

Some of my favorite looks of the evening.

One of the best things about living in Minnesota is the abundance of great beer, so I loved sipping on different offerings from Schell’s, but it was great to try wines made locally too.  St. Croix vineyards, based out of Stillwater, had a variety of samples available as well.   

Items from designers and boutiques were available for purchase in a pop-up shop set up in what is usually hotel conference/banquet space.  I loved being able to meet the people behind the designs and storefronts.  I also loved that one of the ladies from Big Island Swim And Surf recognized the dress I wore as being from AKIRA Chicago, despite being hundreds of miles away in Minneapolis.  

I’m a dope and didn’t get a picture of my full outfit that night, but you get the idea.

In addition to clothes and accessories, works of art were also available for purchase. Local artists had set up shop in another section of the space.  By the end of the evening, I absolutely had to own a fierce looking framed print from Andrea Stowe.  

There was a variety of great silent auction items, from Atmosphere’s entire discography to Kidrobot gear.  The text message system to notify bidders of their status as top bidder seemed like a really convenient feature.

A few of my things from the night included: 
This wrap top from Tessa Louise.

The cool shaped/colored zipper on this piece by Claire Ward.

Printed top and leather look leggings by Kjurek.

This dress, also by Kjurek.

This dress by Caroline Hayden.

I think my date and I were both obsessed by this sweater by Evil Twin, showed by Cliche Boutique.

Everything about this dress by Marissa Bridges.

Snap Yourself had a black and white Photo Booth set up that I just couldn’t resist.


The gift bags for VIP/+ guests were awesome!  Lots of coupons, a small canvas, bottle of water, taste of Pinnacle vodka, etc.  I was recently able to try Union Rooftop using one of the coupons and am definitely going back…the seafood was fresh and delicious, and you can’t beat rooftop dining and drinking on a warm night. 

Envision Artopia was really fun and helped me to get to know more about Minnesota fashion so I promised myself not to miss another installment.

Tickets are still available for the Spring 2014 event.  This season, after it’s history at the Graves 601 hotel, it is now just called “Envision” and will be held in the newly renovated Minneapolis Orchestra Hall this Saturday, April 26, 2014.  

It seems this year is a year of changes for the Minnesota fashion industry. MNFashion took a brief hiatus to figure out how to best serve the needs of the Minnesota fashion industry and is now ready to be back and better than ever.  I’ve also donated to a successful Kickstarter for a Duluth based designer who wants to host her own fashion show in late May.  I'm so excited to see where these changes bring the Minnesota fashion community!

A New Chapter

     I guess I took an unintentional hiatus.  

     Initially, I was so energized and excited about starting a new chapter of my life that it felt like I could do anything and everything.  I didn't realize how exhausting it would be to really start adjusting.  

     As soon as I was starting to feel at home and normal in my new environment, my priorities changed.  I made new friends and spent time doing things other than go to work and to the gym.

There were margarita nights and date nights and karaoke nights.  
Large margarita at Mexico Lindo.

There were Bloody Mary Sundays and brunches at Luce or at Uncle Loui's. 
Bloody Mary bar at Bowery Bros pub at the Radisson.

There was beer and a lot of whiskey.  
Leinenkugel Summer Shandy at Germanfest in Milwaukee! 

There was travel for work and travel for fun.  
Trip to the Cooper Lighting facility in Denver 

There was hip hop, punk rock, and Bob freaking Dylan.  
Trampled by Turtles and Atmosphere

There were art fairs at Bayfront and second Friday exhibit openings at the Prøve
Labradorite and butterfly wing necklace by ISMS (based out of MN) from the Bayfront Art Fair. 

There was beer. 

All Pints North Summer Brewfest tasting glass and program.

There was a gin bucket and tequila before noon. 
Gin bucket at a Halloween party

There were bonfires on beaches both at sunset and at sunrise, and even one in the snow.
Beachfront bonfire at Glensheen mansion for the company holiday party. 

There was the symphony orchestra, the ballet, a pizza filled scenic train ride, and a haunted ship. 
Not even half of the programs and tickets I acquired.

Did I mention there was beer?
Surlyfest at the Surly Brewing Co grounds

There was a graffiti graveyard. 
Some kind of adventure. 

There was gay pride weekend and gay marriage legalization.  
Wedding cake at the first gay wedding reception at Tycoon's.

There was dancing, fashion, and retail therapy.  
Highlights from Envision: Artopia Fall 2013 

There was also beer. 
Sampling Colorado brews in Denver 

There was loss and a lot of facing fears and testing limits.  

     Even through the ups and downs, things are going just fine.  I'm learning so much at work and have made great progress since I started.  I'm registered and studying for a few professional certification exams and am excited to achieve those qualifications.  I'm now the secretary of my Toastmasters club which helps the club (and me) stay organized.  Also hoping the added responsibility motivates me to keep working at completing the projects on the path to becoming a DTM.  I have met a lot of great people here in Duluth through work, Toastmasters, meetup.com, and just from going out on the town whose company I enjoy and hope to continue making memories with.  

I'm excited about all these things but now that they're feeling less new (and stressful) and more normal, I can get back into writing about my explorations in local fashion and culture including all about Voltage, Envision, and some of the boutiques around town.  Thanks for reading and I hope to write more soon.  

When in Doubt, Leave Town to Figure It Out

My last post was a month and a half ago and so much has changed since then.

Last month I was feeling stuck - stuck in my childhood home, stuck in Vegas, stuck in an internship that I didn't love.  My internship provided a great learning experience and an edge in the industry, but it was no longer exciting to me and I felt my performance start to slip.  In addition, changes and stress in my personal life had me itching for something fresh.  

I made plans to take a trip to visit an old friend in a place I'd never been and quite honestly never saw myself going.  Before I left, I submit applications to job opportunities in the area that I saw online, knowing I had nothing to lose.  One such opportunity really spoke to me - the firm seemed to have a position available to do exactly what I had studied to do and was looking for someone exactly like me - from my major to my interests, skills, and prior (in)experience.  I got a call as I was preparing to go to the airport that they wanted to set up an interview.  I went and the interview must have gone well...though I wasn't sure of it when I left. 

Upon my return to Vegas, I immediately felt like I needed to leave again - I had outgrown my old room and life.  Thankfully, I got a call back from the interviewers and after some discussion and deliberating, I accepted an offer to join their team.  In the timeframe of about a week and a half, I picked up my life and relocated to snowy Duluth, MN.  Yup, somehow it's still snowy in mid-April. 

The April blizzard that shut down the office early during my first week.

Duluth isn't as big or glamorous as Las Vegas or Chicago, but it's charming and even shin deep in snow, I'm excited about this new chapter of my life.  I sit here at a coffee shop in the middle of the downtown area watching people pass by not only on the red brick sidewalks, but also through the glassy skywalk system above.  The Skywalk is a system of indoor walkways spanning three miles and connects most of the businesses downtown, providing a safe, efficient, and comfortable commute.  I had never heard of it until last month but as part of my new job, I will be aiding in the design of an addition to it.  

Part of the Duluth Skywalk, somewhere downtown.

It may seem like it, but I haven't given up on this blog and in fact have plans for going in a new direction.  Maybe not entirely new - still planning to post about shopping consciously, fashion, eco brands, and good food - but definitely adding new elements from a new location.  At first I lamented the lack of my old favorite chain shops and eateries (no Sephora or Nordstrom or Costco or Chipotle, OMG), but I love that Duluth has so many unique businesses and Minnesota pride.  There's a lot more going on here than I originally imagined - from art gallery openings, to up and coming music acts, interesting restaurants, and lots of beer.  

I know Surly is a Minneapolis based brand, but this was delicious and still means Minnesota is way cooler than I thought. I know Duluth has Fitger's and Canal Park Brewing and others, though.

There are still posts I have yet to catch up on, but forgive me - it's been a hectic couple of weeks!  Things are starting to slow down so I should soon have time to resume posting.  Please feel free to share with me any Duluth/Minnesota based designers and businesses I should check out!  I'm sure there are some here, I just don't know how to find them.  There's definitely a few things here I'm going to look into but a lot of the action seems to be in Minneapolis and hope to make it down there sometime soon.  

A lot still changing but every day I'm feeling more and more at home here.  This probably won't be my last move, but it's one I should be happy with for some time - the fact that I'm feeling more comfortable instead of more anxious as things settle is great.  I'm so ecstatic to have found such an incredible start to my career.  Hoping this will be just the change of pace I am looking for and pleased to have an audience to share my journey with.