Those of you that have been following this blog for some time know that I am a big supporter of Sunglass Hut’s Full Time (undeniably) Fabulous blogger, Kristy Eléna. I first “met” Kristy in August 2010 when we connected over a controversial Vogue Italia spread. Since then, I have grown into one of Kristy’s biggest fans.
One of the things that has always drawn me to Kristy is her passion. She puts her heart and soul into everything that she does and doesn’t attempt to hide it. This passion is what makes her such a successful blogger and, in my opinion, earned her the Full Time Fabulous blogger crown.
Her passion for fashion and blogging go beyond daily posts and encompass the whole blogging community. She is determined to strengthen and grow the fashion blogosphere, and her latest endeavor – a series of monthly Full Time Fabulous (FTF) Blog Events – is designed to do just that.
This month’s theme was submitted by Sweet of Pens and Lens and is a testament to the worldwide appeal of fashion blogging. Participants from all over the world are using this inaugural FTF Blog Event as a platform to introduce themselves by creating a visual presentation of how their heritage or location in the world has influenced them.
Personally, I have decided to focus on both aspects. I have lived in Cleveland, Ohio my whole life. The city, and my experiences here, have certainly played a role in making me the person I am today. But my experiences aren’t limited to the city confines. They go far beyond those borders, across the Atlantic and back again.
But first, let’s start with Cleveland…
While preparing this post today I posed a quick question on twitter: When you hear the word “Cleveland” what is the FIRST thing that comes to mind?
Some of the answers I received were a bit unexpected:
Why unexpected, you ask? Because the responses I received were all positive. I was expecting responses like Burning River.
Or “The Fumble”
Those are some of the responses I received when I asked that question of some Clevelanders. I guess what they say is true – we are our own worst critics!
No one can deny that the City of Cleveland has become infamous for the moments illustrated above. Fortunately, Cleveland’s very rich history goes far beyond that. Did you know that the Eliot Ness was once the City Safety Director? Or that John D. Rockefeller called Cleveland home? Did you know that Cleveland, not Krypton, is the true birthplace of Superman? That the electronic streetlight and streetcar were invented here? What about LifeSavers candy? The whole body x-ray machine? The term “rock-n-roll“? Did you know that Halle Berry, Drew Carry, Dorothy Dandridge, Paul Newman, President James Garfield, and Poet Langston Hughes all called Cleveland “home”?
Frankly, I would be surprised if you did know all that.
My twitter buddies illustrated some of the other things that Cleveland is known for:
- Its sports teams. Cleveland Indians. Cleveland Browns. Cleveland Cavaliers.
- Its increasing reputation as a mecca for good food. Iron Chef Michael Symon is a local celebrity and East 4th Street is one of the hottest places on the restaurant scene right now.
- Its cultural gems, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a world-class Art Museum and Orchestra.
- The Playhouse Square Theater District is second in size only to New York City’s Lincoln Center.
- Cedar Point, though outside the city, is definitely something Clevelanders are proud of. It’s the Roller-Coaster capital of the world!
So, what else is Cleveland known for?
Here are a few tidbits that may be a bit less familiar to you:
- Clevelanders are blessed in that we experience all four seasons, but the vibrant colors of Spring, Summer and Fall can often be overshadowed by our stark winters. See that first picture above? That is a lighthouse that was completely encased by ice due to crashing Lake Erie waves. CRAZY. And beautiful.
- Our native wildlife includes plenty of squirrel and deer-sightings everywhere. Especially during mating season.
- During the late 1800s to the early 1900, a strip of Euclid Avenue was known as Millionaires Row. Among those that lived in this affluent area were John D. Rockefeller and John Hay (personal secretary to Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State under William McKinley).
- The character of Superman was created by was created by local writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster in 1933. While they were both still in high school!
- Cleveland is home to Cosmopolitan Magazine’s 2010 Bachelor of the Year, Ryan “Mickey” McLean.
- Actor and Philanthropist Paul Newman grew up in a suburb of Cleveland and got his start as an actor at The Cleveland Playhouse.
What is my Cleveland?
“My” Cleveland is a bit different from what most locals see everyday. I work in Cleveland’s University Circle, so I spend most of my time on Wade Oval. The Cleveland Museum of Art. The Cleveland Botanical Garden. The Museum of Natural History. The Fine Arts Garden. Severance Hall. Those are my haunts. My world is the one in the image above. And the photographer and fashionista in me LOVES it.
Why look for inspiration anywhere else when you can find it in nature everyday? Nothing can match the vibrant colors and varied textures of nature’s own hand.
So, who is Beautifully Invisible?
We are all a product of our experiences. The people who touch our lives every day, the places we go, the things we see and the memories we make constantly inform our lives. They help us grow and make us who we are today.
Having been born and raised in Cleveland, the city certainly is a part of who I am today. But it is only one part. So what else is there?
- My Serbian heritage.
- The landscapes in the collage above are photos I took of the places my parents were raised in the former Yugoslavia.
- The cross with the 4 “C”s is a Serbian symbol of unity and strength.
- Why the picture of tennis player Novak Djokovic, you ask? I included it because it is a good indicator of the unity and pride Serb’s feel for one another as a culture. When Novak wins, we all win!
- The image of St. Sava Cathedral, the mural of Sveta Petka, and the shot of Ostrog Monastery at night (which is carved almost entirely in a vertical mountain cliff) represent my spirituality.
- My photography:
- Most of the images used in this post were taken by me. I always say I am a terrible candid photographer, but I can do nature, and I can do concert imagery (Bon Jovi above). My photography is one of my passions, and it is a source of constant inspiration.
- My family
- There is an image of my mother in the collage above that was taken in the 1970s. She is rocking a great pair of sunglasses, flared pants, a cute top, and her long hair is pulled back into a ponytail. Classic. Beautiful. Stylish. She made it look as easy then as she does today. She is still, and always has been, my #1 inspiration.
- My relationship with my brother is a huge part of who I am as well. I love and adore him as much (more!) today as I did the day that photo of us as children was taken.
- My style:
- You’ve all seen the shot of my Wendy Brandes swear rings before but I included them here because they represents my style well. I gravitate towards statement pieces, whether that is big and bold jewelry like the swear rings or my YSL arty rings, killer heels, a bold print, or big sunglasses. But I always mix the STATEMENT with something classic.
- I also love surprising details like studs or spikes, hence the random shot of prickly spines above. I adore details like that.
- And of course, Tom Ford. If I could afford it, I would own every piece he has ever designed. Along with every piece of Wendy B’s jewelry.
And that, my friends, in a nutshell is me. My inspirations. My philosophy on life. And just… me.
Now, what makes you, you? How have your locale and/or heritage helped define you?
NOTE: All images were taken by me or courtesy of Google Images unless otherwise indicated.