Archive - May 2012

First Arizona Blogger Conference Recap
Big Star USA Denim Preview

First Arizona Blogger Conference Recap

The Phoenix Style Collective held their first blogger conference for (mainly) Arizona bloggers at the hip Saguaro Hotel in beautiful downtown Scottsdale. I had the opportunity to drive out for the event, as well as stay over at the hotel. The Saguaro is centrally located near Old Town and historic Scottsdale. We stayed in the Chaparral Garden View room, located on the ground floor. The interior of the room was accented to resemble the rich heritage of the Sonoran Desert. From the bold colors to the Mexican imported decor, it was truly an oasis in the desert. We had a nice little patio that looked out upon the pool and surrounded by luscious bougainvillea and even had misters going to soothe us from the scorching Phoenician sun. I partook in one of their famous pools and lounged poolside, shaded by an expansive orange umbrella. Later that evening, the boy and I went to Old Town Whiskey, where he savored the smoked brisket sandwich and I- the veggie burger (the pickled red cabbage was the icing on the cake). It was nice to retire to the room after the meal, catch up on some cable TV and snooze away in the comfy bed.

The Saguaro was the venue for the first ever Arizona Blogger Conference, hosted by the lovely folks at the Phoenix Style Collective- Courtney, Chelsea, Katherine, Kara and Josh, co-owner of the GrowOP. There were probably over a hundred people in attendance and EVERYONE looked amazing! I chatted with familiar faces and met new ones. There were some vendors selling their wares, including Corona Couture Jewelry and Rumble and Spur Jewelry. Corona Couture’s jewelry is unique and one-of-a-kind. She recycles vintage license plates, keys, door plates, etc and turns them into wearable works of art. My absolute favorite pieces were the “state” bracelets made from recycled license plates. They are a perfect unique accent to any armparty! Portland-based Rumble and Spur Jewelry designer- Danielle showcased unique necklaces comprised of plastic, copper, brass, plexi glass, etc. I loved her use of mixing different colors and materials. Check out her online shop! We also enjoyed complimentary coffee and lattes by the fab The Coffee Chop– a mobile coffee house if you will, who is very talented in latte art. We were schooled in different poses for perfecting the ‘outfit shot’ by The Agency Arizona. Brenda Eden of Brenda Eden Photography snapped shots during the night and in the Madewell photo booth. Speaking of Madewell, they sponsored a styling booth… full of yummy separates that could be styled multiple ways. I also found the perfect pair of white and blue floral denim! Savante Salon was doing feather extensions and neon color wraps. Of course, the Saguaro provided nibbles and a cash bar.

During the conference portion of the event, we listened to several panelists. First up was Margaree Bigler of Local First AZ. She discussed the importance of shopping locally and supporting Local First AZ. Then we heard from Georganne Bryant, owner of Frances Vintage and Smeeks. She told us her story about her store and then how blogging has helped her business. We also heard from the lovely Kate of the style blog- Running on Happiness. She told us her back story and just shared some pointers in starting and running a blog. Next, we listened to photographer-Sarah Rhodes of Arrow + Apple. She first mentioned that she was nervous, but I honestly didn’t see it. She was funny and really impressed the crowd with her tips on better blogging photos and powerpoint examples. Lastly, we heard from Chelsea of Tea Talk. She explained the importance of finding your own voice and also told her blogging story. The event ended with more networking and mingling, lattes and cocktails.

Thank you Courtney, Chelsea, Kara, Josh and Katherine for the very fun evening. If you’d like more information on the Saguaro, go to the Saguaro website.

** The Conference/Event**

** The Hotel **

Big Star USA Denim Preview

After Bollare sent over a pair of Big Star USA’s jeans- The Toyland, skinny jeans in dark wash, I was eager to wear them to the brand’s preview event at the West Coast Bollare office. I must tell you that after wearing the pair, I added them to my list of denim brands that I adore. They are comfy and offer just the right amount of stretch without overdoing it. The Big Star USA brand was founded in 1974 in Europe and prides itself on producing affordable, quality denim and knitwear and still being trend driven yet timeless. They also use Ozone Technology- a process that significantly reduces the use of chemicals. Their contemporary knitwear line launched two years ago and has been harmonized with the denim line collections each season. “The idea is to offer easy basics that complement the denim line. Each season we introduce a new group of knits made up of vintage inspired graphics and classic bodies. Knits are fairly new, but they will grow and evolve with every new collection we add,” the menswear denim designer-Ron explains.

We were introduced to the Spring (and some Fall) 2012 collections. I admired all the colors and neon that are in still on-trend. Neon shorts available in lime, orange and pink? YES PLEASE! Colored denim and corduroy, animal prints, florals are what’s in store this season and I can’t wait! We saw all variations of denim, ranging from raw to super vintage. According to Sandy- the knitwear designer, “In the current 2012 Spring collection, you can see influence from old Aztec prints and inspiration from desert road trips. The whole collection is fun, easy, loose fitting tees and dresses that have a burst of color along with nautical inspired stripes. Each piece is unique in its styling as well as each wash technique and original graphics.” We also checked out the men’s line. “The Big Star USA spring line for men stays true to its heritage, work wear and military themes. It offers styles ranging from raw selvage jeans, vintage inspired denim washes to classic work chinos,” Ron explained.

I really enjoyed meeting the designers, as well as the creative director- Evelyn, on preview day. The denim and knitwear were hung neatly on a couple racks. Keeping up with the ‘vintage Americana’ theme, old school candies and sodas were set up on a large glass table where the DIY was also to be held. Mikki- the womens denim designer, was looking marvelous in her Big Star USA floral denim (a new addition to the collection and a ‘must-have’ on my list). She also accessorized her look with an very vintage looking floral fanny pack from Urban Outfitters. Sandy oversaw the DIY- cat ear headbands decked out with recycled denim scraps, studs and spikes and lace. I made mine with some leftover floral denim and lace. My ears included a cute bow in between the ears. I really enjoyed crafting and talking to these truly unique designers in a laidback atmosphere.

Big Star USA ranges from $45 to $68 for knits and bottoms range from $98 to $136. Check out the Big Star USA website for more information on previous and current collections.

Thank you Bollare ladies and Big Star USA for an amazing day!

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