Bringing Cleveland to Light

Unless you never leave your house, you've probably seen Brent Durken's work around Cleveland. His photography greets travelers at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. It decorates the walls at local eateries. And even if you are a legit hermit, it appears on Cleveland.com, as well as other sites. Browns fan? Well — Durken's even one of the official gameday photographers.

 Photo courtesy of Brent Durken Photography

Photo courtesy of Brent Durken Photography

It's clear he loves this city. And that local love is evident in the works on display in his first solo exhibit, "Cleveland in Lights" opening this Friday at Victoria Stanbridge Photography in Lakewood.

"The idea behind the show is to really just show how beautiful Cleveland is," says Durken. "There are a ton of really cool things to see and do in the Cleveland area, and it's nice to be able to show the city off a little."

And Durken's photography does a spectacular job of it, depicting familiar landmarks both new and old in a dynamic way perfectly reflective of the city's current revitalization.

"I tried to put together some photos showing both some of the amazing old buildings we have around Cleveland and some of the newer things going on in the city," says Durken. "Most of the photos are very colorful and vibrant and I want them to have the same 'wow' effect that seeing a cool skyline or sunset has when you are there actually looking at it. I am hoping everyone enjoys seeing Cleveland the way I do." 

Want to see Cleveland through Durken's lens? You can view the exhibit June 3–17, with an opening night reception tomorrow at 7 p.m. And if you want to show your own walls a little love for the 216, bring your wallet — original photos and prints are for sale.  

Cleveland in Lights: Brent Durken, Photographer
June 3–17, opening night reception: Friday, June 3 at 7 p.m.
Victoria Stanbridge Photography
15707 Madison Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107

These Boots Weren't Made For Walking

During my most recent clothing purge, I unearthed these boots from the depths of my now more orderly closet. Don't you love that? Rediscovering long-forgotten things is like finding buried treasure for me. Of course, I'd like to get my closet to a point where I actually know exactly what's in it, but it's an ongoing battle. And in the meantime, I'll enjoy rekindling my romance for long-lost closet contents.

  What I'm Wearing:  Vintage thrifted cowboy boots, dress from a friend's apartment sale, thrifted vintage belt and Coach purse, earrings and sunglasses from Target, chevron ring and   Citizen watch   from Kay Jewelers. 

What I'm Wearing: Vintage thrifted cowboy boots, dress from a friend's apartment sale, thrifted vintage belt and Coach purse, earrings and sunglasses from Target, chevron ring and Citizen watch from Kay Jewelers. 

Similarly, after an inexcusably long break from blogging, I'm feeling inspired again.  I pretty much dropped the ball on this for several reasons. For one, life is just always really busy and it's difficult to find time to have my photographer (AKA my husband) take pics. And truth is, blogging is really weird. It feels unnatural, self-serving and a bit embarrassing to take pics of my outfits and self-promote. So I stopped. I'd been meaning to give it another go for some time, but on April 4th my dad passed away. It sounds trite but having a parent die is a truly life-altering event. I don't want to get into much detail in this post, but I do plan on writing about the loss of my dad in the future. Point is, my dad really liked my blog and encouraged me to post more. So, this one's for you, dad. Going forward, I plan on focusing a bit more on writing and less on outfit posts, because, well, fashion is fun, but it's not everything. I enjoy writing about all kinds of things.

 Just casually leaning against a rocket ship outside of   Lava Lounge   in Tremont. You know — the usual.

Just casually leaning against a rocket ship outside of Lava Lounge in Tremont. You know — the usual.

But, back to this particular post, which is about fashion. I paired my awesome vintage cowboy boots with this black dress, allowing the boots to be the focus of the outfit. I also really enjoy the girly contrast of the lacey sleeves. I wore it to work, to dinner at our old stomping ground, Lava Lounge, and to a theater production with Eric. As cool as the boots are, holy shit did my feet hurt by the end of the night. Maybe that's why I haven't worn them in so long that I forgot about them? Sometimes, we suffer for fashion. I'll add some cushiony insoles next time. 

 And here's me with a giant #2 pencil in Hingetown, outside of   Rising Star Coffee  . Why a pencil? I have no idea, but I love it.

And here's me with a giant #2 pencil in Hingetown, outside of Rising Star Coffee. Why a pencil? I have no idea, but I love it.

The theater production we saw was "Broken Codes" by the Theater Ninjas. It's a series of shorts examining how we interact with technology and how it affects us. There were some clear feminist statements in it, which I really appreciated. And the show was in the old Hildebrandt Building in Cleveland, an industrial space now used as the home of Rising Star Coffee's Roastery, as well as space for artists and a community kitchen. The stage was set up among giant sacks of coffee beans (which smelled heavenly), a reuse of space that is so perfectly Cleveland. I'd like to go back and explore the building sometime, with a more comfortable pair of shoes.

 Bags of coffee beans just chilling behind the stage of "Broken Codes."

Bags of coffee beans just chilling behind the stage of "Broken Codes."

My Current Obsessions:

Reading: "Walk to the End of the World" by Suzy McKee Charnas is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel in which women have been reduced to slaves after an environmental collapse. Honestly, I'm having a hard time getting into it, but I'm going to stick with it for the subject matter. I just finished "Mort(e)" by Robert Repino though, and really enjoyed it. Recommended!

Watching: I finally signed up for HBO Now so I can watch Game of Thrones without people on the interwebs spoiling it for me. I'm digging the current season a lot! Especially the most recent one. Daenerys for the mother fucking win!

Drinking: I recently had a Dirty Chai for the first time in a long while, and am now re-addicted.

Making: On a whim I signed up for a Ceramics 101 class at Gina DeSantis Studios. I'm not very good at it, but I'm improving and it's very relaxing throwing pottery on the wheel. Spoiler: It's not as sexy as in Ghost.

Silver Lining

Hey! It's been awhile since I've posted. Like, a really long while. Sorry 'bout that. I promise to do better in the future. Anyway, I went to an '80s-themed benefit for Burning River Roller Derby last weekend, sporting a vintage bedazzled denim jumpsuit (because of course I did). I paired it with rad super-shiny silver eye makeup, which elicited much praise and a request for a tutorial. So this one's for you, Caroline! I didn't take step-by-step pics while I was doing my makeup, but I did snap a couple shots of the finished product.

 The finished look! Channeling Pat Benatar if you ask me.

The finished look! Channeling Pat Benatar if you ask me.

These are your tools for '80s disco ball eyes.

  L'oreal HIP Metallic Eyeshadow in Platinum  (this isn't readily available anymore, but I found some   here  ),  Urban Decay Shadow Box  (you're in luck — this is on   sale!  ),   Urban Decay Primer Potion in Original  ,   Benefit Roller Lash Super Curling Mascara   (my current fave), a cheapie eyelash brush from Ulta, and my trusty old   Sonia Kashuk Essential Eye Kit  . 

L'oreal HIP Metallic Eyeshadow in Platinum (this isn't readily available anymore, but I found some here), Urban Decay Shadow Box (you're in luck — this is on sale!), Urban Decay Primer Potion in Original, Benefit Roller Lash Super Curling Mascara (my current fave), a cheapie eyelash brush from Ulta, and my trusty old Sonia Kashuk Essential Eye Kit

Step 1

Apply Urban Decay (henceforth known as "UD") Primer Potion to your eyelids up to the brow bone and let dry. You could skip this step, but eye primer enables a nice even application of shadow, with no creasing. Full disclosure: I was too sleepy and tipsy to wash my face when I got home after the party (yeah, yeah, I know it's bad) and my eyeshadow still looked perfect in the morning. Thanks, primer!

Step 2

Using a shadow brush, I brushed a nice even coat of the L'oreal silver eyeshadow all over my lids to the crease and added a touch to the inner corners of my eyes. There was a lot of sparkly fallout on my cheeks, which was delightful. 

 Step 2: Tip: Use a real brush for this and not those weird little foam-covered pieces of plastic that come with cheap eyeshadow. Those suck.

Step 2: Tip: Use a real brush for this and not those weird little foam-covered pieces of plastic that come with cheap eyeshadow. Those suck.

Step 3

Using the crease brush in my Sonia Kashuk set, I applied the darker silver "Mushroom" from the UD palette along the crease and angled in a line down to the outer corner of my eyes. I then blended it to soften the line using the blending brush.

 Bottom left: Mushroom and crease brush, top left: blending brush, top right: liner brush and Blackout.

Bottom left: Mushroom and crease brush, top left: blending brush, top right: liner brush and Blackout.

Step 4

Next, I used the liner brush with Blackout from the UD palette to line my eyes on the top. For the bottom lashes, I pressed the brush into my lashes lightly all the way along like a dotted line and then used a cotton swab to smudge it. Done with the shadow, I used a baby wipe to clean up any shadow fallout under my eyes and on the tops of my cheeks.

 You can see Mushroom layered on the crease here. I could have used to blend it more but I'm super-lazy when it comes to blending eyeshadow so you might want to do a better job than me. Or say "screw it" because life's too short to mess around with blending makeup to perfection.

You can see Mushroom layered on the crease here. I could have used to blend it more but I'm super-lazy when it comes to blending eyeshadow so you might want to do a better job than me. Or say "screw it" because life's too short to mess around with blending makeup to perfection.

Step 5

I combed my lashes and applied two coats of Roller Lash. Voila! Your eyes now sparkle like a couple of goddamn disco balls.

The rest of my face, in case you're wondering: UD Naked Skin Foundation, a touch of UD Baked Bronzer (can you tell I love UD?) and some L'oreal colored lip balm that they don't make anymore. :(

My first makeup tutorial! That was fun! I like talking makeup, so perhaps I'll do this again sometime. And if you like talking about makeup too, check out my interview with makeup artist and all-around bad ass person, Christine Jurcsisn.

 

 

The Vacationing (Part One)

Eric and I went on vacation a couple weeks ago for the first time in years, and we had an absolute blast! I guess the fun was evident in my posts on social media, because a bunch of people asked for details and more pics. So, here you go! We set out for our Smoky Mountains/Nashville trip on a Saturday afternoon, and instead of driving the whole way to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, we decided to stop in Cincinnati and check out the city a bit.

 Just your typical view of gorgeous scenery in the Smoky Mountains.

Just your typical view of gorgeous scenery in the Smoky Mountains.

Our first stop was Christian Moerlein Brewing Company where we refueled on beer and Goetta, a regional favorite made of ground sausage combined with oats and spices. Then we explored the shops and bars of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood for a bit. Believed to be the largest, most-intact urban historic district in the country, OTR has seen a huge gentrification effort in recent years, and reminded me of a larger version of Cleveland's Tremont or Ohio City neighborhoods. After indulging in some Graeter's ice cream (OMG, the key lime pie!), we wandered into an appropriately named bar, The Drinkery, where a surprisingly awesome soul band, Magnolia Sons, was just starting. Unlike in Cleveland, nearly every single bar patron was on their feet dancing. Kudos, Cincy! Clevelanders don't seem to dance much. What's up with that, Cleveland?

 Magnolia Sons bringing down the house at The Drinkery.

Magnolia Sons bringing down the house at The Drinkery.

 Even their sign was awesome.

Even their sign was awesome.

The next day, we headed to Cincinnati Museum Center, home to three museums and an Omnimax theater. The museum center is a grandiose former train station, and its original 1930s Art Deco architecture and detail has been meticulously maintained and restored. It might look familiar because it was the inspiration for the Hall of Justice from Justice League. My jaw literally dropped when I stepped inside the grand hall. It's that beautiful.

 Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice... Just kidding! That's Cincinnati Museum Center in all its gorgeous Art Deco glory.

Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice... Just kidding! That's Cincinnati Museum Center in all its gorgeous Art Deco glory.

We explored the Natural History Museum and the Children's Museum, where an exhibit called the "Science of Sports" gave me the opportunity to race a T-Rex! The point was to see how fast you can run in comparison to notably fast animals (another option was a cheetah), but I was mostly interested because you all know how I feel about dinosaursHere's me racing T-Rex with really poor sprinting form. Spoiler alert: It would've eaten me.

Ilona racing a trex

Posted by Eric Faehnrich on Thursday, August 13, 2015
 This adorable ice cream shop inside Cincinnati Museum Center still retains its original charm. 

This adorable ice cream shop inside Cincinnati Museum Center still retains its original charm. 

After we had our fill of science and nature, we moved on to, well, nature, and headed to the Smoky Mountains. After passing through the tourist trap that is Gatlinburg (this is your place if you like Ripley's Believe It Or Not museums or airbrushed Confederate flag tees), we camped inside the park at its polar opposite, the peaceful, off-the-beaten-path Cosby Campground (where lots of inappropriate Bill Cosby jokes ensued.)

 I really wanted to explore this abandoned amusement park we passed between Cincinnati and Tennessee, but it just wasn't possible. But I did snap this shot of the overgrown, lopsided ferris wheel.

I really wanted to explore this abandoned amusement park we passed between Cincinnati and Tennessee, but it just wasn't possible. But I did snap this shot of the overgrown, lopsided ferris wheel.

It was so nice to just totally disconnect. Quiet, sparsely-populated, no cell service. And, so many stars. You don't realize how much light pollution there is in the city until you look up in the wilderness and the sky is just packed with stars.

   Hen Wallow Falls   is located a few miles hike up Gabe's Mountain, near the Cosby Campground area.

Hen Wallow Falls is located a few miles hike up Gabe's Mountain, near the Cosby Campground area.

We spent the next couple days hiking up mountains, horseback riding up mountains (EEEE!!! HORSES!), and generally enjoying the amazing vistas and densely packed, lush forests. In three days, we really only scratched the surface on all the things I would have liked to see and do in the Smokies, so I hope to be able to make it back sometime soon.

 I picked up this hairy Mountain Man while hiking to the   Chimney Tops  , the sheer rock face that we climbed to get to the summit of a mountain after hiking two miles uphill. I chickened out and didn't make it all the way to the top though. You know, cause I'd like to not fall off the side of a mountain.

I picked up this hairy Mountain Man while hiking to the Chimney Tops, the sheer rock face that we climbed to get to the summit of a mountain after hiking two miles uphill. I chickened out and didn't make it all the way to the top though. You know, cause I'd like to not fall off the side of a mountain.

 An outtake from   Myst  . JK, this is   Clingman's Dome  , an observation tower at the highest point in the Smoky Mountains. So high that it was inside a cloud. As in, we literally drove through a cloud to get to it, hence the eerie, misty pic.

An outtake from Myst. JK, this is Clingman's Dome, an observation tower at the highest point in the Smoky Mountains. So high that it was inside a cloud. As in, we literally drove through a cloud to get to it, hence the eerie, misty pic.

 Another view of Clingman's Dome from the ground.

Another view of Clingman's Dome from the ground.

 Just your standard gorgeous sunset over the mountains.

Just your standard gorgeous sunset over the mountains.

Building fires, making s'mores, reading in a hammock. This part of our trip rekindled my love of camping and I'm really looking forward to our next camping trip, in early October.

Stay tuned for part two, in which we explore Nashville, bathe in waterfalls and buy dead things!