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Photo Diary: A Frozen, Beautiful Winter ❄

May 13, 2014

With very little time or mental space to create new content this week, I thought it’d be a good time to share my winter photo diary. From snowy weekends to family gatherings and vintage holiday decor, it brings me a warm and fuzzy feeling to see these snaps, even when I’m so intensely longing for summer to finally descend upon us!

Incidentally, there was also a lot of nightlife going on. New Yorkers need some way to defrost, after all!

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Read more…

Murals, Bubbly & the Importance of Fun

April 30, 2014

It’s been an intense couple of weeks here in NYC, with spring events, collaborations, and ideas blossoming just as quickly as the cherry blossoms in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (most of which haven’t even blossomed yet, actually)! I didn’t have a chance to get over there yet, but those aforementioned opportunities? I’m all over ‘em.

It’s important to remember to stop and smell the flowers though (spring puns, I love them). Spring is a crazed season full of excitement and rebirth, so getting caught up in the mix and burning out is an ever-present possibility.

Infuse fun in your life wherever possible, whether that means visiting a colorful boutique between stressful meetings or practicing dance moves for the elevator security cameras.

lower east side mural nyc

After we left the Bloomingdale’s event last week, for instance, I was happy, but my mind immediately catapulted to my next project. But, I stopped myself. Why not let the joy of having accomplished something hang around for a while?

What is the point of achieving if we never celebrate the achievements?

So, Raffa and I took fun portraits in front of this awesome mural on Houston and then frolicked over to Simone Martini Bar for some bellinis to celebrate the day. Presto! Some well-deserved fun to round out the experience.

lower east side mural nyc

Look at this hunky man! :*

lower east side mural nyc

lower east side mural nyc

Long story short, enjoying what we do is just as important as doing it, so the next time you accomplish something awesome, remember this:

You haven’t completed the task until you raise a glass of bubbly (or even San Pellegrino) to celebrate the accomplishment. 

Cheers to that!

Slicing & Dicing at Bloomingdale’s SoHo 10 Year Anniversary DIY Event

April 29, 2014

I’m thrilled to report that our Bloomingdale’s SoHo 10 Year Anniversary event was a success! To celebrate 10 years of being the top department store in SoHo, Bloomies organized a series of events featuring brands and bloggers to give shoppers an extra special experience last week.

Sarah Caye and I set up shop on the 3rd floor from 3PM – 6PM, modifying the complimentary tanks customers received when they shopped the Bout-Tee-Que collection with applique, cording, and slashing. Basically, it was a blast.

Check out some snaps of the event below!

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A happy customer! This back wrap that Sarah came up with was by far the most requested modification.

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She wrapped metal wire around slashed t-shirt pieces that round themselves out into cords naturally when cut into strips. She then added some beads, and wrapped the cording around the back of the racer-back tank! Voila—a brand new design.

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I was gleefully stringing beads onto the slashed hems of tees all day. It was positively therapeutic, and I’m pretty sure I’m going old school on a handful of my t-shirts this summer.

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Special thanks to Julie for setting this up and featuring us! It was an honor to celebrate the 10 year anniversary with Bloomingdale’s SoHo.

The Art of Craft and Activism

April 28, 2014

One massive challenge many creative people face, including myself, is an internal conflict about the purpose of their creative work. While some people spend their lives training in medical and scientific professions (who are artists in their own right, no doubt), the visual artists and creators of the world eventually arrive at a moment where they fear their work may be futile. Not enough. Inconsequential.

Even worse, those around them may wonder why they sit in their workshops or studios all day, fiddling about with markers, fabrics, paints, or photo processing chemicals. They may criticize or discourage them from pursuing creative expression.

“What’s it all for? Is creativity enough? How can we justify ‘making pretty things’ all day when there is so much wrong with the world?” Those are some of the questions I’ve asked myself in the past while working on Bombay Mermaid Trading Co., or even producing content for this blog.

craftivism - the art of craft and activism

The universe has a way of answering our toughest questions at the right moment, however, and Craftivism fell into my hands at the same time this artistic existential crisis was unfolding in my life.

This book, which officially launches today, is a celebration of the way hand craft and creativity of all genres has launched movements, changed viewpoints, and perhaps most crucially, helped people in need.

You may recall the more popular craftivist movements and revolutionaries in recent history, like Marianne Jorgensen, the Danish artist who covered an army tank with a huge pink quilt to protest the Iraq war, or the Craftivism Collective’s Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops campaign that launched during Fashion Week.

craftivism - the art of craft and activism

The introduction, by craftivism pioneer Betsy Greer, examines whether “activism” has to be an audacious or violent act to have real impact. She recalls two puppets portraying George W. Bush and Al Gore parading through the East Village on Halloween night, pre-9-11, and how the crowd’s jovial cheers had reduced to an apprehensive hush while the puppets passed by:

“I had always thought that activism had to be loud and in-your-face. Maybe the quietness of the puppets resonated with the quietness of the knitting, but it made me think about quiet activism and how craft could be a part of it.”

craftivism - the art of craft and activism

The book features the work both whimsical—like Guerrilla Kindness, a campaign centered around leaving works of art in public places for people to enjoy—and more intense, like the groups of Chilean arpilleristas who embroider and collage the tragedy their families suffered under the totalitarian Pinochet regime. There are projects that will bring tears to your eyes, like The Blood Bag Project and Quilts of Valor, and some that will inspire and excite you, like Mila Burcikova‘s recycled clothing company.

craftivism - the art of craft and activism

With the release of this book, I am reminded of the people in my own life who may not be at the front lines of revolution in the literal sense, but are very much changing the world:

My friends Lauren and Athena, for instance, who both work tirelessly in New York and New Jersey enriching the lives of school kids with art and music programs. My favorite copywriter and author, Alexandra, who routinely donates proceeds from her events and products to organizations that empower women around the world.

craftivism - the art of craft and activism

While revolutions are no joke and often involve bloodshed, there’s a new, modern kind of revolution. It starts in your heart, just like all other revolutions, but it manifests itself in your sewing room, on your canvas, and in your creative community. Your end product could educate, anger, feed and clothe people, open eyes and minds…

craftivism - the art of craft and activism

Thanks to the shrinking global community and the internet in general, it has never been more possible to reach out to the world through your creative work—and let’s not forget that aside from revolution, change, and progress through art, it is also one of the most universally recognized forms of therapy, healing, and paths to self-awareness. No art, no craft, is meaningless if it comes genuinely.

craftivism - the art of craft and activism

If this book taught me anything, it’s that you can’t let anyone talk you down from reaching out through your creativity, or undermine the importance of what you do. Let ‘em talk, but know that every stitch, every brush stroke, every loop around that knitting needle can be life-changing and important. You get to decide.

Craft on! And grab a copy of this book, asap.

Hey Mishka Hosting the Bloomingdale’s SoHo 10 Year Anniversary DIY Event!

April 23, 2014

So excited to announce that I’ll be hosting the Bloomingdale’s SoHo 10 Year Anniversary celebration’s DIY event. Ready, Fête, SOHO! On April 25th from 3 – 6PM, you can shop the BOU-TEE-QUE collection of tees, and with each purchase you’ll receive a complimentary tee to be customized by myself and DIY expert Sarah Caye, who also happens to be one of my besties. Come by for some cocktails, shopping, and DIY fun!

We hosted a similar event two years ago and it was a crazy success. We almost couldn’t keep up with the DIY madness, but everyone went home pleased as pie with our studded FNO shirts. You won’t wanna miss this one.

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BOU-TEE-QUE DIY Party: April 25th, 3PM – 6PM at Bloomingdale’s SoHo: 504 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.

See you there!

P.S. I’ll be dropping by Caravan Stylist Studio to get pretty and polished before the event, and I can’t wait to share the results with you!

Hey Mishka’s Workout Mix!

April 21, 2014

I couldn’t be more pleased to report that in 2014, I’ve been living up to one of my most crucial resolutions: to stay active and break a sweat. Let me explain:

One of my favorite summers ever was in 2007. I was young, spirited, in the midst of Fashion School, madly in love, and super fit. I spent weekdays in the Hudson Valley playing in the sun, clocking hours at the gym at night. I spent weekends in the city partying with friends, terrorizing Coney Island, the East Village, and any electro party we could find. I put all of my favorite music from those parties on my mp3 player and brought them to the gym, which kept me running on that treadmill like a track star (out of excitement for the weekend, natch).

Can you guess which of these activities made me feel so alive? While at the time I thought it was the cinematic, sequined social frivolity, star-crossed love story and vitamin D (a.k.a. awesome tan), it was actually the record amount of time I spent working out and staying fit.

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Image via Ida Gets Fit

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How do I know this? Life always takes a turn for the worse when you stop being active. Lack of energy, poor digestion, groggy mood, general blah-ness takes over when you don’t get your blood pumping once in a while. That’s a fact.

Every year since that golden summer, I’ve written “go back to the gym!” in bold red letters across my resolution list, just like everyone else. Finally, this year, it was no longer a cliche resolution, but a call to action.

So far, so good! I feel amazing (though very much in-progress), and I want to share some of the music I have on my own very multicultural workout playlist.

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Hey Mishka’s Workout Mix!

Read more…

DIY! Flower Embellished Frames for Spring

April 18, 2014

When the New York City sky drops a hail storm on you in April, it’s time to call upon the spring gods of DIY. Yes, they exist. Spring is a feeling, you see, and when you create springy things, you manifest springy-ness! Another explanation is, fun DIY projects keep you busy while you wait for the weather to get a clue… Either way, it’s DIY time.

Earlier this month the festival madness, paired with some super cute glasses I saw on Nasty Gal, inspired me to whip up a pair of flower embellished frames. They are officially all the rage, but not a justifiable purchase.

I ordered up some pastel floral cabachons and whipped out my tacky glue. The result? My favorite new accessory! Instructions below.

blue hair flower frame glasses floral spring diy (1)

blue hair flower frame glasses floral spring diy (1)

DIY! Flower Embellished Frames for Spring

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You’ll need…

 A pair of frames (lenses can be clear or shaded, depending on the look you want and how functional you want these to be).

 Tacky glue (my favorite is Fabri-Tac—it’s similar in drying time and texture to hot glue, except not hot).

 Floral cabachons, or charms with flat backs. I got mine super fast from this amazing Etsy shop: Whimsy and Pop

spring floral flower frame glasses diy

 Step 1

Kind of a pre-step, but important. When selecting your glasses, be sure you actually like the way they fit on your face. It’s easy to grab cheap frames and glue stuff on them, but if you want to enjoy them, try a bunch on until you find a pair you adore.

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 Step 2

Hold your frames carefully in one hand while squeezing the tacky glue onto the frame, careful not to spill it over on the lens. Do this in small sections, because the glue dries quickly.

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 Step 3

Firmly press your floral cabachons down over the glue. They should stick right away as the glue begins to turn to a rubbery texture. If you can still move them around a lot, add more glue and try again.

spring floral flower frame glasses diy

 Step 4

Repeat all the way around one side, and let dry. Yes, I know you’re excited, but you have a high chance of ruining your frames if you don’t wait! You’ll probably have to handle the DIY’d side at some point while finishing the second side.

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Scrumptious!

spring floral flower frame glasses diy

 Step 5

Repeat the process on the second side, and let dry thoroughly (I recommend overnight, but you can wear them in a couple of hours if you absolutely must show them off like, tonight). You can fold the frames and lay them down if you see any of the cabachons sliding downward during the drying process.

spring floral flower frame glasses diy

 Step 6

Take those babies for a stroll! Here, Becca shows us just how adorable these frames can be. Is she a cartoon princess or what?!

blue hair flower frame glasses floral spring diy (1)

blue hair flower frame glasses floral spring diy (1)

blue hair flower frame glasses floral spring diy (1)

Now it’s back to the creative lab for some green tea and crafty experimenting. Exciting announcements and more DIY on the way…

Have an amazing weekend!

P.S. Special thanks to Becca and Erin for contributing their time and creative energy to this post—they are two of my favorite ladies ever!

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