Fashion Week Downtown: My Night in "Stories"

Throughout my college years, one Pittsburgh event I always looked forward too was Fashion Week. So back in April when I first read how the annual Pittsburgh Fashion Week was cancelled this year, after six consecutive years, I was a bit crushed. However, my hope was restored in June when I began hearing buzz on social media about a new fashion event that was coming to downtown this fall: Fashion Week Downtown. 

About The Event

The event itself was held at the Union Trust Building on Grant Street and was organized by the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation (PDCDC) who partnered with Social Butterfly Magazine. The main man behind the idea though was John Valentine, the corporation's executive director. Mr. Valentine, much like the rest of the Pittsburgh fashion community, was sad to hear about Pittsburgh Fashion Week's hiatus. Due to the fact the fashion industry is an important part of the Pittsburgh art and business community, he couldn't just let a year go buy without a proper fashion event. So Mr. Valentine, the PDCDC and Social Butterfly Magazine came up with Fashion Week Downtown to keep the fashion culture here alive this year. And that's exactly what it did.

VIPs mingle before Fashion Week Downtown in the lounge of the Union Trust Building. 

VIPs mingle before Fashion Week Downtown in the lounge of the Union Trust Building. 

Resident artist at The Space Upstairs mid opening performance.

Resident artist at The Space Upstairs mid opening performance.

The event, which the PDCDC team only had a few months to plan, had an amazing turn out of roughly 500 guests, and the tickets for the event completely sold out 6 weeks prior to the event. The event also featured exclusive appetizers catered by Union Standard as well as a complimentary signature cocktail for the VIPs, as well as a cash bar for the general admissions. The runway show itself featured a special performance by Pearlann Porter & the Resident Artists at The Space Upstairs. The performance title "Jazz Couture" consisted of 3 (very different but simultaneous) contemporary dance performances set to improvisational jazz on the runway. Next Elena LaQuatra (the Reigning Miss Pennsylvania USA) announced the brands and their designers, which there were 13 of, along with 50 beautiful outfits and models! Awesome right?

Runway model, Joanna Wentling, modeling gown by designer Brian David (Instagram, Facebook). Fun Fact: Brian and I have been in contact since the show and we are in the process of planning a collaboration! More details coming soon.

Runway model, Joanna Wentling, modeling gown by designer Brian David (Instagram, Facebook).

Fun Fact: Brian and I have been in contact since the show and we are in the process of planning a collaboration! More details coming soon.

My How I ended up in the VIPs

My seat at the runway compliments of Social Butterfly Magazine. 

My seat at the runway compliments of Social Butterfly Magazine

So, now that I've got you caught up on all the details, you're probably wondering how I got to attend due to the tickets selling out so quickly. Well lucky for me, a friend of mine from college, Jeanette Shustack, works as a graphic designer and staff photographer for the local publication Social Butterfly Magazine. The magazine was covering the event as well as working with the PDCDC. So when Jeanette heard that they needed some staff volunteers to help with the set up the runway and possibly double as press for the show, she reached out to me and a few others via Facebook. Obviously, I eagerly accepted due to my love of Pittsburgh and the fashion industry in general, but I would be crazy to not jump at the chance to be a VIP at a fashion show!


My First Fashion Show Experience + All of the Snaps

So after running around and feeling like Andrea Sachs all day, (But with a much kinder boss than Miranda Priestly of course!) 6 o'clock came and I got to take behind the scenes photos of the event, eat some delicious food, and chit-chat with some fabulous members of the Pittsburgh fashion community. And of course, this was all uploaded to my Story on Instagram, which has changed since the show. However, due to the nature of the event I decided it would be fun to do something new and leave you a slide show of some of my snaps from the evening. Featuring a few of the awesome shots I got sitting two feet from the runway (Thanks again Jeanette & Social Butterfly Magazine!) as well as some of my just for fun behind the scenes shots. Enjoy! 

Wanna check out all of the designers from the show? Take a look: Alana Yoffee, TK Fashion Design, Hollywood Glam!, Ruby Dawn Designs, Suz Pisano, Leesa Kassler, ProBantuStyle, S.Moye' Fashions, Sofiya Mozley Fashion, Bradford Mumpower, Brian David, Faith-n-Khaos, and James Houk Design.

In closing, I just have to say I had an absolute blast and am still so grateful I was invited to this awesome event! A special thanks to Jeanette & the rest of Social Butterfly Magazine, as well as Renee, Kari, and John from the PDCDC! I hope to see you all at Fashion Week Downtown next year.

So, what do you think of Pittsburgh's new Fashion Week Downtown? Any favorite outfits from the runway? Let's chat about it in the comments below!

Xx, Bree

Beautycounter: Nourishing Cream Cleanser + Nourishing Night Face Cream

Hi everyone and happy Friday! As the week is winding down I'm happy to announce that amongst my most recent press events with ModCloth and Social Butterfly Magazine, I also had the chance to collaborate with a start-up company by the name of Beautycounter.

When I first received notice that Beautycounter was interested in collaborating with me, I was emailed by one of their consultants, Carley.  Though I had heard of the company before I wasn't incredibly familiar with their brand so I took to Google to investigate. After reading loads of reviews, their mission statement, as well as how they select their ingredients, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them!

*Image supplied by Beautycounter.

*Image supplied by Beautycounter.

I'm sure my US readers who are makeup and beauty junkies have came across this California-based company, who stepped into the industry in 2013. But for my readers who are a bit unfamiliar, here's what Beautycounter is all about:

Safer Beauty

As explained in their mission statement, one of Beautycounter's main concerns when making their products is to be sure the beauty products they deliver are safe. Unfortunately in today's market there are over 80,000 chemicals and many of them do not have any safety information. Which in my opinion, leaves the FDA to blame due to the fact the only thing they regulate in cosmetics are the color additives. Meaning they are still allowing companies to use chemicals in their products that are known to be extremely harmful. And to make matters worse think about this: in the past two decades the European Union has banned more than 1,300 chemicals in the use of beauty products where the United States has partially banned 11. (That's right, I'm not sure if I'm more bothered by the "partially" or the fact that only 11 have been [partially] banned.)

*Image supplied by Beautycounter.

*Image supplied by Beautycounter.

Knowing this information, Beautycounter's founder Gregg Renfrew decided it was definitely time for a change. So back in 2013 she started the company, which has been devoted to progress ever since. To further make Beautycounter stand out, they actually have a "Never List" which lists ingredients you will never find in their products. If you want to learn more about the ingredient selection process, click here. And if you want more background information as to why Beautycounter is so unique and why they are so devoted to their process, you should check out this video.

My Beautycounter Experience 

Of course after chatting with Carley and learning all these wonderful things about Beautycounter I wanted to try it for myself! So Carley was kind enough to send me two complimentary full size products to try and to review. As the title of my article would lead you to believe, those two products are the Nourishing Cream Cleanser as well as the Nourishing Night Face Cream.

At first, I was a bit leery to try a new facial cleanser due to the fact I have sensitive skin and my Clarisonic cleanser has worked for me for two years now, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The Nourishing Cream Cleanser lathered nicely and is very light, it also easily washed off and didn't leave my face feeling as though there was any excess cleanser left behind. It also left my face feeling fresh and was much less harsh on my skin than my Clarisonic cleanser, even when used with my Mia 2 cleansing brush.

*Image supplied by Beautycounter.

*Image supplied by Beautycounter.

I also feel that this cleanser has actually worked wonders for my skin. In the week I have been using it my skin has felt softer, appeared more vibrant, and has had significantly less redness even with the change in the weather. (Normally around this time of year when the 'Burgh starts to get cold, I tend to get a very windburned face from bustling around the city.) Bottom line? I can guarantee you that I will be switching to this cleanser and ditching my Gentle Hydro. 

*Image supplied by Beautycounter.

*Image supplied by Beautycounter.

The next product I tried from Beautycounter was the Nourishing Night Face Cream.  As I'm sure you've assumed this is a night time moisturizer. When first trying this I was expecting it to be very heavy and oily like the overnight moisturizers I've tried in the past. However, much to my surprise this moisturizer is just as light and airy as the cleanser. I was very happy with the results too, this moisturizer made my skin feel so lush and smooth, and is definitely another product I will be adding to my beauty routine.

Final Thoughts

In closing I would like to say I would definitely recommend Beautycounter's products for anyone looking for a great skin care line or makeup that only uses 100% safe chemicals in their products. And as for me? You can bet I will continuing to use (and reorder!) these products as a part of my everyday beauty routine, and will be checking out the rest of Beautycounter's Face Collection

*Image supplied by Beautycounter.

*Image supplied by Beautycounter.

Have you ever tried Beautycounter? What are some of your favorite products? Tell me about them in the comments below or tweet me them at @StarkRavingChic

Xx, Bree

ModCloth IRL: Pittsburgh

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you know that this past Sunday I had the honor of attending and exclusive press event for Pittsburgh's own ModCloth. Before I dive into all the details, first I want to say thank you so much to ModCloth's Fashion PR woman Aire  for inviting me to this fabulous event, I also want to say how wonderful it was to meet and chat with some of my favorite Pittsburgh Bloggers in person (I'm looking at you JessaKim, and Terra)!  It was honestly such a wonderful time and it was so great to have had this opportunity, and not just because I got to shop privately for some super adorable clothes.

So what is ModCloth?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the brand ModCloth, let me give you a quick run-down about the clothing store. Firstly, ModCloth is an online retailer that was founded by couple Susan Gregg Kroger and Eric Kroger back in 2002, and now has expanded to employ over 350 people in their three locations throughout the USA which are based in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh. Susan and Eric initially started the company so they could promote unique and expressive clothing, as well as sizes for all body types because as they state in their About Us section, fashion is for every body

I myself have been a fan of this store since my senior year of high school and I still shop with them to this day. Though, I encourage you to go and poke around their shop for yourself, if you don't have the time, I'll just tell you now that their clothes really are quite unique and a little quirky. Many of their dresses have a vintage feel; however their other clothes (such as blouses and bottoms) give off quite the urban vibe. In my opinion, ModCloth truly has something to make everyone happy.

ModCloth: IRL (In Real Life)

The press event I attended last Sunday was for ModCloth's pop up shop tour that they've named "ModCloth IRL", that they have been doing in a handful of states this past year, but their last stop of the year was here in Pittsburgh where it all began! The reason ModCloth decided to host something like this was due to the fact that being an online store, sometimes people are skeptical of ordering. 

"What if it doesn't fit?" 

"What if I don't like the material?" 

"What if it's too short or long when I try it on?" 

These are the questions ModCloth wanted to eliminate by doing their pop up shops. This way their clients can actually meet with their stylists in person as well as touch, feel, and try on clothes before placing an order online. I know that I was thrilled with this idea just because I personally struggle with finding proper sizing especially online. Mainly because due to my slender build I generally am a XS/0 however, in my experience, those sizes tend to run a little short, which isn't ideal for my 5'7" frame. So needless to say, being able to try the clothes on at the shop really made me feel much more confident about my purchase.


The other great thing about this event was, one of ModCloth's head stylists Lindsay, was there to show us the biggest trends coming up this fall and winter along with some tips and insight about the different types of "ModCloth Girls". I also had the opportunity to work with another stylist named Laura who helped me put together two very stylish fall outfits, and I also snagged an awesome cardigan to help keep me warm in my office (pictured below).


Want to get in on the goods?

If you already love ModCloth or are a first time shopper and want to check it out in person, you can if you are in the Pittsburgh area this week! The pop up shop will be opened until September 27th, 2016 and is located on 625 Smithfield St. Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Did you make it down to ModCloth to get some darling clothes? If so, tell me about your experience in the comments below!  

Xx, Bree


#OOTD: Why the Hell Not

Much like Labor Day, another tell tale sign summer is coming to an end is when the pumpkin flavored everything is being featured on every cafe and restaurant's menu. So as I was out gallivanting around the city yesterday and enjoying the last of the warm weather, I just couldn't help but to be a little giddy when I saw Starbuck's "Pumpkin Spice Latte" sign gracing their window. (Yes my friends, fall begins in just 4 more days!) And though I passed on the latte, I did treat myself to some Pumking beer because why the hell not?

Downtown Adventures

So aside from the fact I just really like the quote on this Rachel Roy tank, I also like it for other reasons too. One of them being that it's a perfect transition piece, and not to mention you can dress it up for a rocker chic vibe, or style it for a more whimsical look. However, my favorite way to style it has most definitely been the rocker chic way. 

Love the boots? You can get them here!

Love the boots? You can get them here!

The way I've been styling this top all summer has been by pairing it with my black skinnies and my high heeled boots. Though it's a simple enough look, I like to add a little extra flare by pairing it with two of my favorite pieces from my sponsor Rocksbox, as well as my mirrored sunnies from my other sponsor SheIn

Want to get jewelry like mine for a whole month 100% free? When you sign up to Rocksbox using my promo code "starkravingchicxoxo" you can!

Want to get jewelry like mine for a whole month 100% free? When you sign up to Rocksbox using my promo code "starkravingchicxoxo" you can!

The last thing I have to say about this outfit is, it has seriously became a favorite of mine just due to the fact I feel absolutely fierce while wearing it and love the little bit of extra confidence it gives me.  Because everyone needs a little self-love right?!

One Last Look

What are some your favorite outfits that make you feel confident? I'd love to see them! So tweet me a link @StarkRavingChic, leave me a link when you comment below, or you can just snap a picture and tag me on Instagram at @StarkRavingChic

Now if you excuse me, I'm off ModCloth's IRL press event downtown to chat with the crew and do some private shopping. More details on that coming Wednesday. Later babes!! 

Xx, Bree