FTF Blog Event – What Makes Me, Me.

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…

Cleveland, Ohio

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.

Burning Cuyahoga River, 1969 (Image via History Cooperative)


Or LeBron James’ “Decision”.

Image via Google Images

Or “The Fumble

The Fumble (Image via Cleveland Art Project)

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:

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?


Thank you to Kristy Eléna and Sunglass Hut for hosting this FTF Blog Event!  If you would like to read Kristy’s own response and check out the other entries, please click here.


NOTE: All images were taken by me or courtesy of Google Images unless otherwise indicated.

{ 42 comments… add one }

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  • Fred October 4, 2011, 11:34 AM

    Thank you for letting us see you! 🙂 It inspires “us”.

  • Jenmarie April 8, 2011, 5:43 PM

    I feel like you just gave me the perfect history lesson about Cleveland, Ohio! I was unaware about many of these facts, so thank you for sharing all of this with us! I love the photos you take and I have to say that you are quite lucky to be surrounded by such beauty. I wish there was more green and anything nature-e around my home! Great post!

  • Audrey Allure April 8, 2011, 11:54 AM

    Such great, interesting facts about Cleveland! That icehouse looks really cool, and love that @RedHeaded responded “Family Guy”, haha!

  • Kirstin Marie April 8, 2011, 11:21 AM

    This is such an awesome post! I’ve never been to Cleveland. I really love your collages, and your take on this theme!!

  • sweet April 8, 2011, 3:17 AM

    I received your comment love..no worries I understand it…but I am so happy that you participated in the event…I am loving the visual and how you represented it with great statements…If you were to ask me about cleveland…I would definitely google it first hahahaha 😀 I don’t know a lot of things in the US…personally I only know those places where I can see in movies…and yes Family guy too…but I didn’t expect how rich the culture and history is in Cleveland…despite your anonymous representation…it took us to a higher regards of your love in blogging and it makes us see more of you…

    thank you for sharing that chance…I may not visit your site all the time…but I am happy that with this blog event and the community I get to know all the lovely bloggers around the globe….

    thank you again B…


  • Kara April 8, 2011, 2:13 AM

    That icehouse is wicked! Very informative post 🙂


  • Dusk April 8, 2011, 12:31 AM

    I don’t think a nutshell could ever encapsulate you hon 🙂

    What makes you tick intrigues me…and I wait patiently for the day when you decide to be beautiful visible… a glimpse of stunning blue eyes is not enough! 😀

    I hope you accept this award… here

  • Simple Subtle Style April 7, 2011, 10:17 PM

    Great pics! My in-laws are from Cleveland so I gotta hit it up one day!!

  • Heidi April 7, 2011, 7:04 PM

    What a great post! Mom mom was in a band “The Bittersweets” and they played lots of shows in Cleveland (so I think this post is marvelous).

    Your photography is great. <3 H

    • Heidi April 7, 2011, 7:05 PM

      I meant to say “my mom” not mom mom…hahah 🙂

  • THE-LOUDMOUTH April 7, 2011, 4:32 PM

    B, I absolutely adore these collages you made! Thank you for all the little tidbits about your city and your life!!! Although you claim to be “invisible”, you are so open about who you are and I love that! I feel like I know you more every time I read an entry of yours. You have such a lovely heart and I’m happy we’re friends! Now that I know your face and your city, maybe the next step is to meet? HMMM???

    Twitter @theloudermouth
    Birthday Blog Event

  • Cyrillynn April 7, 2011, 3:43 PM

    Love your post, beautifully written. I’m a big football fan, so your Browns picture cracked me up to no end!


  • Carolann April 7, 2011, 3:08 PM

    Hey! I love that you have my little tweet there … and I honestly love that I now know someone in Cleveland! My hubs and I come into the city usually about once a year to catch a game … he is a die-hard indians fan. Now I will know someone in the city!!

  • Sherry April 7, 2011, 2:22 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing your city!! I have only been to Cleveland in passing. The pictures you have shared make me want to stop in and see it!! I also love your quote and your philosophy on life. You are right- we make our own destiny and where we come from is just a small part of who we are. Thanks for reminding us of that!!!

  • Kimberlee April 7, 2011, 12:20 PM

    Love all the thought you put into this and all the collages. haha LeBron, I guess you guys are harsh on yourselves! Great learning more about you and Cleveland 🙂

  • kristy April 7, 2011, 12:01 PM

    wow B! this post is EPIC!!!! you created SEVERAL collages and gave us so many interesting tidbits and facts that my mind is reeling to retain them all. i love this post!!!

    it’s always wonderful getting to learn more about you. i feel like you are definitely a kindred spirit.

    the photos you chose are all amazing and the way you opened the post made me laugh. i love your sense of humor. cleveland looks like a really beautiful city. some of those night time city shots are so reminiscent of new york! and that’s amazing you guys have the 2nd largest playhouse after lincoln center!! i love theatre. =)

    i’m so excited you participated in the blog event! thanks for the awesome words at the top, you never fail to warm my heart. you have this wonderful way of seeing peoples’ good intentions.

    so so many hugs to you!!

  • GRIT & GLAMOUR April 7, 2011, 11:23 AM

    Nice to read more about you, B! Lovely collage. We have so much in common, it’s kind of uncanny.

  • jessica April 7, 2011, 10:09 AM

    what i like about this is the stark contrast to many others who participated in the FTF event. A lot of them including me have moved around quite a lot and as a result had a collage made of different cities, countries etc. I have always wondered what it would be like to be born and raised and living in the same place and you have shown exactly why its great to have done that. Extreme loyalty and an overwhelming sense of this is where you belong. .. it looks like you put a lot of work into your post and it paid off, its very well put together and a damn good read!

  • MJ April 7, 2011, 9:55 AM

    I KNEW there had to be a Tom Ford picture in there somewhere! 🙂

    This was a crazy awesome post and I learned a WHOLE lot about Cleveland (besides the Lebron thing!). I’ve never been there and you’re actually the first person I know from there so thanks for teaching me on the city! The photos were awesome and gave a great snapshot about you!

    This was a really awesome event!

  • Anna April 7, 2011, 5:18 AM

    I like your photographs a lot…and the representation of your Cleveland and your roots and everything you love…
    p.s. I love Tom Ford too 😛

  • Bella Q April 7, 2011, 12:05 AM

    What a wonderful glimpse of you B. And I want to see more of your nature photography!

  • Courtney April 7, 2011, 12:02 AM

    What a beautiful post! I love that you did all the photos. I didn’t know Cleveland had such a rich history. I love it!

  • Heather Fonseca April 6, 2011, 11:50 PM

    I love Kristy’s idea, of course I think I missed out. I joined the group late and didn’t figure out what was happening until today. Oh well.

    Cleveland sounds wonderful! I wish I had some warm and fuzzy thoughts about the city where I live!


  • fuyume April 6, 2011, 9:35 PM

    It was so nice to read this post and discover info on cleveland. As a Brit I knew nothing at all about Cleveland. All the american ftf posts i’ve read today have made me want to travel all over america 🙂

  • Chavon April 6, 2011, 9:24 PM

    As a Clevelander, it’s great to see a post highlighting the positives of a great city.

  • Oh to Be a Muse April 6, 2011, 9:17 PM

    this is really great. i like that you asked people about Cleveland too! i can definitely see that you put a lot of thought into this post.

  • myheartblogged April 6, 2011, 9:02 PM

    What an awesome post on Cleveland! It’s nice to see such a positive post about our city. I love Cleveland, and I am a big critic at times. I hope to see the city come back, and flourish in the future. Not that it isn’t awesome now.

  • Terri April 6, 2011, 8:17 PM

    Isn’t the writer Annie Dillard from Cleveland?

  • zsara April 6, 2011, 6:42 PM

    This was such a gorgeous post! It’s always lovely to get to know bloggers. I was thinking just last night actually about how strange it will be to walk these streets again when I’ve moved on. The house I grew up in is so awkward to get to – it’s juuust on the cusp of London but it’s also sort of in the countryside. I’ve never lived near ANYTHING and I’m surrounded by hills. Part of me loves it because there’s gorgeous countryside; the other part hates that it’s such an effort to get anywhere. As much as I dislike living here now because it’s just inconvenient I know it holds a big place in my heart because these are the streets I grew up on and on almost every corner there’s a new memory.

  • Tanvi April 6, 2011, 6:41 PM

    B, You are AWESOME! Love these posts all over the web today! Yours specially 🙂

    Click here to Win a Dress
    ♡ from © tanvii.com

  • Madison April 6, 2011, 6:33 PM

    Speechless B! This is such a wonderful post, I love learning more about you & heritage. Your’e a lovely photographer! Thanks for giving us even more to love about Cleveland.
    I also loved/appreciated the fact that you had Novak Djkovic’s pic in the collage as well; it’s amazing how much sport means to many cultures.. I’m a fan, love it! 😉

  • Marissa April 6, 2011, 5:44 PM

    I think I spy B in that collage! Unless that’s your mom – in which case you look identical. 🙂 This was a really wonderful post. It’s so nice to learn a bit more about your heritage, your family and your hometown. Have you seen the 30 Rock episode where Liz visits Cleveland? It’s hysterical, and shows your city in a very positive light. There’s also American Splendor, which doesn’t show Cleveland quite as favorably, but it’s an incredible movie!

    • fuyume April 6, 2011, 9:32 PM

      lol that was my thought exactly 🙂

  • Casee Marie April 6, 2011, 5:18 PM

    This might be my favorite post you’ve ever written. (Yeah, like I could actually pick one.) You did an amazing job with this! I love the depth you put into it; even though you maintained your anonymity you still brought us all a little closer, introduced us in a way to the girl behind the blog, and you did it all through your surroundings and your heritage. I can’t imagine the challenge, but you really achieved it. Above and beyond.

    I loved learning more about Cleveland, most of which I didn’t know. (For the record, whenever I think of Cleveland I think of The Drew Carey Show and Tracy Chapman!) But I love your Cleveland the most. To be surrounded by so much art and nature in your day-to-day, it seems like a dream. And the personal collage focusing on your family and heritage was touching. Just, love everything about this. And you!

  • Fabienne Jach April 6, 2011, 5:07 PM

    WowWowWowWeee! Love reading all about you! What a lovely way to share yourself! Thank you:)
    The House in the Clouds