By Lamya Cruz

Forgone the powder, because setting isn’t a necessity for me these days. I want the appearance of “your skin but better.” And believe it or not, eliminating this step in my makeup routine has made my regimen a lot zippier in the mornings and less cakey—8 products strong baby. I feel proud. I feel impressed. In fact, I feel less of this notion that I am even wearing makeup at all (well, maybe not to that extent). But I do like the end results. Regardless, my makeup has not been dripping off of my face, as of yet, and I am not mad at it in the slightest. Now, could I pull this off for the rest of the year? Only the summer knows.   

I believe however, that the notion to using fewer products most certainly depends on the caliber and versatility of those said products. If you can’t use it to triple as a bronzer, contour and an eye shadow then what good is it really? During the week, I want to look agreeable, but I want to save myself some time. So, this is my Ted Talk.

Fair warning: This is not sponsored content at all, but a majority of all the products I am using [and paid for with my own money] are from Au Natural Cosmetics. Also, something that should be duly noted about this company is that it is woman owned, cruelty free, ethically sourced and excludes the use of harmful ingredients in their products. Now, let’s get into it!

8 Product Ted Talk

Lip balm, is very crucial to my routine day or night. I go between Bitchstix in Vegan Spearmint and Glossier’s Balm Dotcom. On my face I start with my Completely Covered Creme Concealer in “Baja” to cover up any discoloration or blemishes. I warm up the product on the back of my hand and with my fingertips, I place it on the areas where I need it the most. Because, I do feel like this concealer needs a light powder to set into place I don’t use it as often, but it does have pretty good coverage. Next, I move to my stick foundation, (and my current favorite at the moment), Zero Gravity C2P Foundation in “Mumbai”. I cannot describe to you how beautiful this stuff goes onto the skin. I grab for this foundation stick every time I do my makeup. It really does give you that healthy soft radiance with a powder finish. Although, I would like to see a wider shade range for darker tones. We are making strides within the industry and I am optimistic that this will be the case with Au Natural Cosmetics as well.

Anyhow, back to original programming. I place the foundation at the center of my face but not too close to my under-eye area. No creasing zone here folks. I use my Sonia Kashuk Flat-Top Foundation Brush (a holy grail and the only brush I use for my entire routine.) With a dabbing sweeping motion, I work it all over my face. Then, I go in with the Zero Gravity C2P Foundation in “Cali” to bronze and contour my cheekbones, chin, nose and forehead. I buff that out with the same brush for a seamless finish. Any excess foundation on the back of my hand from “Cali” goes directly onto my eyelids for a hit of color. My favorite part is applying The Anywhere Creme Multistick in “Roseate” an understated flushed pink that I have been swiping upwards on my cheekbones and dabbing into my skin with both my brush and my fingertips. I haven’t had a blush in years and I didn’t think I needed one up until recently. I am obsessed with this cream blush though. I have two that I rotate from day to day, but I want more! (Note: This could also be used as a lip-stain and eye-shadow).

I spend the most time doing my eyebrows. They are stubborn and sparse. The most challenging part in my routine is shaping them into place! This is where Glossier’s Boy Brow, (in black) comes into play. It has saved me a lot of time. (Pro tip: For a natural brow, go in with as less product as possible and sweep lightly into the brow hairs. Build up from there.)

I finish off with Colourpop’s Kapish in the Matte X formula, outlined with either a lippie stick in the shade Taurus or my Rimmel London lip liner in Coffee Bean. It’s my perfect soft brown-pink nude. It truly ties everything together. Then I set my makeup with rose water and I am done—and ready.









Photographed by Jairph

Photographed by Jairph

By Briony Towler, (@brionynicole)

The idea of reflection in thought is tied to inner peace, closure, and personal growth. But how do you find the method of reflection that works for you? Trial and error. Reflection is not something that comes naturally to many people. We live in a world where everyone is constantly on the go, and sometimes we are purposefully busy to keep our minds from reflecting on the past or present. The latter is what hit me in the face like a ton of bricks a year ago.

At the end of 2017, I had a sudden epiphany after a situation occurred in my dating life. I realized that I was stuck in this cycle with dating. Shortly after realizing this, I started to dissect other parts of my life and found sources that caused this broken cycle. It dated back to a significant event that happened in high school — the hardest part was accepting that for ten years it subconsciously affected my decisions and my mental health. The phrase "it's not you, it's me" had never been so relevant in my life. I knew that I needed to take the time to dive deep into who I was. So I did.

The first thing that I started doing is writing. And though my hand often hurts from writing, I wrote about any and everything that was on my mind. Writing became a therapy for me. I kept a journal and would periodically go back and read the entries. I even had a journal where I took the time to chronologically go through the significant events, good or bad, that happened from 2008 forward. It started as this 15-year-old girl who just needed to trust herself and speak up a little and migrated to the girl who was quiet but threw daggers with her words at times because of bottled up anger. Then fast forward to now, a girl who is just trying to figure out what is her and what is just her bottled up emotions. I knew that to move forward to what I felt was the next step; I had to get comfortable with talking about my past in detail. I needed to relive the emotions that I pushed down for so long. I had to forgive those who didn't know that they hurt me, and I had to forgive myself. I was incredibly emotional. I sat in silence a lot to hear my thoughts. Sometimes I would sit and cry, but I began to feel better and felt I was ready for the next step.

The next planned step I am still in the process of starting, and that is therapy. There has been a lot of talk about therapy this year, and I think that it is time that we listen. My year of reflection has taught me that there are some things that I am not going to be able to talk myself through and I will need help. Mental health is a hard topic, but the truth is that I have struggled with mental health issues since 2008. At the time I was a teenager and did not know that I needed help. But I have realized that I do. And it may not require medication, but seeing a professional provides the perspective of someone outside of your mind.  Reflection can start on your own, but in my opinion, for the most thorough reflection, therapy is needed at some point.

With 2018 coming to a close, now is the best time to reflect or prepare for reflection. Thinking of the good and the bad from this year, and strategizing on the future. Taking the necessary steps to ensure growth and pushing forward will ensure that you have a productive 2019.



Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe

Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe

By Lamya Cruz

Lately I have been finding satisfaction in buying things. More than usual, because of the best excuse—we are in the depths of holiday season. Black Friday has just come and gone but the feeling of it still lingers incessantly. Discount season is in full blossom and somehow cannot be ignored for too long. The satisfaction I get from saving and spending is beyond me. When my phone buzzes because I have just received a confirmation email that my item(s) have either gone through or shipped is ironically priceless—and although I do my best not to overdo it, sometimes I feel engrossed by it. So, then I must wonder: who is really in control here? You, or your ego dressed up as your psyche, telling you that if you don’t have this or that then you are critically futile? And why does the feeling make me feel so uneasy after it’s all said and done?

I often pride myself at being a rather fruitful shopper. I usually know what I want, how it works, why it works, etc. I don’t usually steer too far from that logic, because I prefer it. I like things all laid out, but every now and then I will play fast and loose if I have a good enough feeling about something. However, I never want to feel too overwhelmed by choices, because they can get very overwhelming and very expensive very quickly. The things that I don’t anticipate getting at times can often affect the flow and mood overall and that aspect I loathe.

But I would be incredibly dishonest if I didn’t say that I felt the pressure to get certain things in fear that I would be missing out on a certain experience or an opportunity. It’s like you must weigh all your options in a lot of what you buy, and you honestly have to think about whether this is pertinent to your prosperity or not.

Shopping for a lot of people can either be a leisure pursuit or dependency. “FOMO” is an acronym that was popularized by author and Harvard MBA Patrick J. McGinnis back in 2004 that is short for “the fear of missing out.” Whenever I feel myself getting something just for the sake of getting something, I must reevaluate why that is. Am I doing it for me or is it pure FOMO? As author Mark Manson once put it in the article “THE FEAR OF MISSING OUT: OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE INSTAGRAM”:

“FOMO is becoming a big issue with our generation for the simple fact that our generation has the most options and choices to choose from. This has been famously called “The Paradox of Choice” and it’s pretty much why the more amazing things get, the less happy we all become.”

There is this idealism that more is better. We often get vexed about being out of the loop with culture, trends all relating to that of buying things (and we do like buying things over here, so don’t get me wrong). But at what cost? We all want to feel like we are a part of something just like everyone else, but this feeling to feel “a part of a whole,” can make us feel suppressed and underwhelmed at times.

The feeling of dissatisfaction can be real, as I’m sure we all have experienced at one time or another with a purchase, and not because it wasn’t what we wanted, or the quality was horrendous but because we were just over it already. It was what I like to call a, “on a high purchase.” We knew we didn’t need it, but we bought it anyway because why not?

The truth is shopping isn’t the enemy. Nor is shopping on a whim from time to time. It is the idea behind the shopping that matters. If you feel hungover after doing it then simply reevaluate why that is and mend it if possible. The concept is to be fully conscious of said purchases, so that way we can have little to no regrets.

In the past year I can honestly say that this has been the case with me and my purchasing habits. Not perfect but that’s not the goal. Although, I am still in the early phases of doing better, I honestly don’t have too many recent buyers’ remorse. One of my favorite mottos are, “you can always return it.”  

I do have loads of respect for the concept of minimalism. The ideology that you do not belong to your belongings and your belongings do not belong to you—could be mediated on and honestly should be.







Photographed by Jala Cruz

Photographed by Jala Cruz

By Lamya Cruz

Ever since high school, I had hankered after a pair of high waisted, light denim washed “mom jeans”. Years to follow, I tried everything on the search for the perfect pair of sculpted denim realness. However, they were either too tight where sitting down seemed greatly unreasonable, or too loose fitting that opting out for a belt would be unthinkable. And after several trials and tribulations, I found out about Everlane, through a KarenBritChick vlog.

First off, Everlane’s mission seems to be clear in regards to consumer transparency as applied to ethical factories and sourced materials. The starting cost of their denim is $68.


I decided to go with The Cheeky Straight Ankle Jean’s in the color “Sky Blue.” At 5’6 1/2 I am more torso then leg, and thought this would give me the desired look without feeling derailed with excess denim that would go way passed my ankles, down to my feet (and with shoes might look like a pair of denim footie pants). Nonetheless, it hit just right. In terms of sizing it was recommended to go a size down, depending on if you wanted a figure hugging fit. Which I did, of course. For reference I went with a size 24, which turned out to be my recommended size anyway—go figure. The feel of the denim was satisfying (and dare I say it—soft). But still, they felt like good quality denim. Something that can often times be overlooked, unfortunately.

Overall, I was very pleased and delighted at how breathable these jean were and how well they make the butt look. In all, I would definitely recommend Everlane denim to anyone. They have a lot of potential and the outfit possibilities are endless in my book. I am certainly going to purchase more from this brand to come.


The Look

Inspired by the Canadian tuxedo—denim on denim. Forever 21 boots and turtleneck, old denim jacket from my closet. Glasses, (Blair) from Warby Parker.






Photographed by Jessica Tuttle; Quote by Pema Chodron

Photographed by Jessica Tuttle; Quote by Pema Chodron

Some quotes might make you laugh, some quotes might make you say, "truth." While others might make you say, "I needed to hear thIS today."  

“I don’t think any day is worth living without thinking about what you’re going to eat next at all times.” ― Nora Ephron

“A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.” - Diana Vreeland

"Laugh as much as possible, always laugh. It's the sweetest thing one can do for oneself & one's fellow human beings." - Maya Angelou

“It’s a nice feeling to just be.” - Pema Chodron

“For a long time, I defined myself by what I wasn’t… My life changed when I focused on what I was, what I was good at, what I liked most about myself and what made me stand out. Once I learned to like me more than others did, then I didn’t have to worry about being the funniest or the most popular or the prettiest. I was the best me and I only ever tried to be that.” - Issa Rae

"Putting on fierce boots is an instant pick-me-up." - Nina Garcia

“I feel like a bumper car. If I hit a wall, I’m backing up and going in another direction. And I’ve hit plenty of f-cking walls in my career. But I’m not stopping. I think maybe that’s my best quality: I just don’t stop.” - Cher

“Everyone’s always like, ‘Be your best self!’ And that drives me bananas because when you’re not, it makes you feel really bad.” - Tracee Ellis Ross

“If you read a lot of books you are considered well read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you're not considered well viewed.” - Lily Tomlin

"You can learn steps, but you cannot learn how to boogie." - Rosie Perez




Saturday, June 23, 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM

Vim Mood is excited to present the Bold Women Who Lead event. There will be networking and an interactive panel focusing on topics surrounding women and leadership across various industries among art, fashion, beauty, business and lifestyle. Learn more about our Speaker Line-up below:


lightning round speaker line-up

Lindsay Boccardo Headshot 2018.JPG

Lindsay Boccardo

I graduated from college and shared the news with my parents: I’m not going to grad school OR getting a job! I’m gonna travel the world in a rock band. I played drums on a pool table in Mexico City, played in maximum security prisons, and underground clubs in Europe. I found my love and passion was actually in the people we’d talk to before and after concerts. I realized that I wanted to help them feel something new and fresh.

I left the road after 6 years and went back to school to be a career coach. My colleagues became executive coaches and I took all that I learned and brought it to Millennials. The youngest generation in the workplace. I built a private practice with young professional clients and after a few years, realized that bosses and company owners wanted to get in on the changes they were seeing in my clients. I now work with several companies in Indianapolis and speak regularly on how to design the career you want (that’s more exciting than binging on Netflix!)


Juanita Ingram

Juanita Ingram, Esq. is an US licensed attorney and author. She is the founder and Board of Trustee Chairman of Dress for Success Greater London. She is also the current Assistant General Counsel at Allegion PLLC. She was awarded the Up and Coming Leadership in Law Award as well as Top 40 under 40 Professional Award. As an advocate for young girls and women, she travels internationally speaking on various topics regarding female empowerment and self-worth throughout the US, Europe & the UK. She is originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Tennessee State University, along with her MBA and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of Memphis. She is a wife and mother of two currently resides in America after living in London for the past four years.

Juanita is the first African-American woman to compete and win the title of Mrs. Indiana United States in 2007, national title of Mrs. US Beauties 2009, and has since gone on to compete and become the first African-American Ms. World International 2012, Mrs. Great Britain World 2011, Mrs. Universe UK 2013, and Mrs. UK International 2014. She was also the fitness, interview, photogenic, and career achievement award winner at the 2011 and 2017 Mrs. Indiana America competition. Madame Noir acknowledged her as one of the Top 7 Black Women in Pageantry to turn Beauty into Business along with Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey, and Vanessa Williams.

She recently concluded her international book tour having published a multi-ethnic Christian children’s series The Wonderfully Made Pals Presents, which includes the publications Kind Kinsley, Wonderfully Made Wanita, Confident Kenan, and Generous Gregerio. She also published two Christian inspirational books for women, Winning with Christ – Finding the Victory in Every Experience and Beauty for Ashes – Transforming Testimonies for Every Woman. Her third inspirational book for women, Fabulous, Faithful, and Free, will be released next month.

To learn more visit www.iamjuanitaingram.com.


PANELIST & moderator LINE-UP


Aicha Balde

Tales & Turbans is a lifestyle blog created with the millennial mom in mind. It’s a space to come for inspiration, conversation, tips and how-to’s on all things motherhood, fashion, travel, and even food.

Aicha, the creator of Tales & Turbans, captures the moments that matter the most, to the modern mom. She, like many moms, gives all she has to her family.  So, she understands that moms need love too. After working, going to school, being a super mom (and wife if you’re like Aicha) and everything things else that needs to get done, moms need a space to relate, be creative, share ideas, and just hang out. T & T is that space. It’s not just a lifestyle blog, it’s a community.


Danelle French

Danelle French is an Indianapolis based makeup artist and esthetician. She graduated From IU with a BA in Communication then went on to Honors Beauty College to get a license in Esthetics. Her makeup work has been published in numerous fashion magazines and she works with high end clients such as Macy's and Finishline. She also makes time to regularly raise money for charities and recently produced and directed a documentary with all the proceeds going to the Human Rights Campaign. 


Lexi Hiland

Lexi Hiland is an Indianapolis based filmmaker and editor with a love for adventure, mission and the conversation of home and family.  Before the age of four, she had lived in two different countries and four different houses. As a cross-cultural citizen, the themes of identity and culture are prominent topics that she enjoys discussing with others. Her adoption from Colombia has led her to share her story through the art of film and she encourages others to share their story too. She is a fellow with the Mitch Daniel's Leadership Foundation, striving to create an Indianapolis where everyone (especially the younger generations of women) are able to thrive in their vocation. She currently lives in Broad Ripple with her furry child, Maven. 


Kat Marris

Kat Marris is a local Indianapolis chef, e-cookbook author and food blogger. She focuses on meal prepping healthy food that is easy to make and delicious. She writes and develops healthy recipes for her blog Fresh and Balanced, www.freshandbalanced.com, and shares meal prep and healthy eating tips and tricks on her Instagram (@katmarris). She also creates weekly meal prep menu’s and cooking instructions for her Ready, Set, Go! Meal Prep Program. Kat teaches private cooking lessons and presents group cooking demos that focus on healthy cooking techniques and other topics. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communication and attended the Art Institute of Indianapolis culinary school to become a chef. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband and two cats. 


     Deonna Craig

Deonna Craig is an Indianapolis based visual artist and the owner of DC's heARTbeat. She graduated from Cathedral High School and DePauw University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Sociology. Her eclectic spirit let her down various career paths from production assistant for the Jerry Springer talk show to Insurance where she honed her leadership skills in management and training. After spending 14 years in Corporate America, Deonna's creativity and love for adventure caused her to pursue art full-time. 

As an entrepreneur, Deonna is able to pursue her passions of community building, teaching, public speaking, and of course visual art. She has received great recognition for her work in the cultural community. She also serves as a mentor, a dance instructor, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. 

DC's heARTbeat provides original artwork, live painting experiences, painting classes, and art therapy. Her unique work has been featured in various galleries and trade shows over the past 8 years. To learn more about Deonna Craig be sure to connect with her!


IG: deonna_heartbeat

Email: deonnacraig@yahoo.com

Website: deonnacraigart.com



Natalie Murdock

Natalie is a rising Junior at Purdue University. She is currently majoring in Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences. She is also pursuing a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She enjoys singing, writing, and is deeply invested in her relationship with God. Natalie will be serving as the Vice President of the Students of Purdue Against Racism Coalition in the fall at Purdue, and she was most recently named the 2018 500 Festival Queen Scholar.  She is thrilled to serve in any capacity and is looking forward to serving you. 



Photographed by Norman Cacho

Photographed by Norman Cacho


A Question and Answer with visual artist and art director Jade Purple Brown ( @jadepurplebrown


What does a busy morning look like for you?

I normally wake up around 5 am to spend a few hours catching up on freelance work and returning emails. After that, I'll write out a list of everything that needs to get accomplished for the day and then start doing my hair & makeup so I can head out to my full-time job. I work at Moroccanonoil as a Digital Designer. So, I hop on the train and head to the upper east side to be in the office around 9 am. 

Are you listening to anyone good at the moment? Who’s on your musical playlist that we should check out? 

Lately, I've been having Majiid Jordan and DVSN on repeat. You'll love them both if you're into alternative R&B. 

How did you get started? 

I went to school for fashion marketing and management because I originally wanted to pursue a career in styling. While I was in the program they taught us the basics of photoshop, illustrator & InDesign to create marketing materials, and I quickly fell in love. With the help of online tutorials, I started using the programs in my own time to create wacky designs. I slowly started to figure out that my true passion was graphic design and that I had a natural talent for it. 

Who were some of your inspirations early on when you first started graphic design and illustrations? 

I was really into experimental/psychedelic digital art when I first started. Artist & Designer, Leif Podhajsky were huge inspirations to me, as I used to work with dark yet punchy color palettes and incorporate organic patterns/textures similar to his work. 

What are some of your responsibilities as an art director? Was that a natural progression for you as a graphic artist? 

My main responsibility is coming up with visual concepts for still life and on-figure photography for digital platforms and ad campaigns. This includes working with a photographer and stylist to make sure that images are produced to reflect the concept of the shoot and that all objectives are filled. Design and art direction go hand and hand so it can be very natural to me.

What inspires you now? 

70's interior designs, simple color blocking, and powerful women with grace & style.


What has been your favorite project to work on? Why?

I really enjoyed working with Toyota to create content for their social platforms. That was the first project that I felt like I was hired solely for my own personal style, which gave me the confidence to go crazy and not limit myself one bit. 

How would you describe your personal style (fashion wise)? 

Being comfortable is key to me. I love simple no fuss outfits that I can just put on and go. My everyday look normally consists of high waisted denim pants, a vintage t-shirt, big gold hoops, and a pair of comfy sneakers.

How would you describe your artistic style? 

I love to create unexpected art that’s a visual feast for the eyes and explores different relationships between shape and color, and powerful women.  



What do you think has made you unique amongst your contemporaries?

I think my dynamic use of color and texture and my abstract interpretations of women has really set me apart from the crowd. 

Do you remember the first piece you created? 

My dad actually has my first painting from preschool framed. It's an abstract watercolor piece with swirls of green and purple. 

What’s your own personal motto?  

"Create Your Own World" is something I always repeat to myself. It is a reminder that there are no limitations and that I can create the wold I want through hard work and consistency. 

What’s empowering to you as a creative? 

Knowing that I have the ability to bring something that's floating in my mind into existence is the most empowering thing. I'm constantly encouraged to keep experimenting and keep pushing my art forward. 

What do you want people to take away from your designs/illustrations? 

My number one goal is to encourage others to be more optimistic and free. I hope my work brings joy to each viewer, even if it is just for a few seconds. 

What’s the thing you heard the most when you were starting out? 

You can do anything if you put your mind to it.  


Don't forget to check out JADEPURPLEBROWN.COM




By Lamya Cruz

Being a self-proclaimed water bottle snob; I take my water bottles kind of seriously. When I first became aware of the BKR bottle I just knew it was only a matter of time before I tried it out for myself. The too cool for school BKR bottle is just that—too cool. At the time I was very content with my matte black 40 oz Hydro Flask [which I loved] up until the straw became molded inside. And although I harbor no harsh feelings in the end; I wanted to try my hand at something else.

At first glance, the BKR bottle seemed very in-vogue and almost too pretty to touch. Yes, I could imagine totting it along with me as I ran errands here and there in an equally adorable ensemble, but could it really hold up to the elements overtime. I wasn’t sure at first, but I was very curious to find out. So, one night I read some reviews online (as I seldom do when investing in anything), and I decided to buy it; right along with a long all-white [slightly angled] brush cleaner, which I would recommend getting if you want to properly clean the inside of your bottle. $56 dollars later I was actually excited about my new purchase.   


The overall concept for the water bottle is pretty fabulous [if you ask me]—it’s all about combining style, substance and practicality. This bottle was designed for the woman who is no stranger to aesthetically beautiful things, and who may also want to eliminate the toxicity that comes from using plastic bottles, which doesn’t hurt either. Part of BKR’s mission is “inspiring sippers to drink water like it's a special treat and helping create the foundation for a gorgeous complexion so skincare and makeup can do their work,” which is written on the website (read all about their story here). The fact that it is also founded by two women, who have been best friends since law school named Tal Winter and Kate Cutler, is pretty iconic. Can you say friendship goals! 

I do like this overall concept, which is more or less the reason I decided to make my purchase in the first place. I have also become a hard core water drinker over the years and I have found that having something like the BKR bottle for sure makes drinking water less of a mundane chore and more of a luxury. I can say with certainty that this water bottle has kept me on top of my water consumption. I at least drink two full litters at day. 




It’s obvious this bottle is exquisitely designed. The sizes vary from the website, but I decided to go with the litter size which is called the Big, [mostly because it seemed to justify the price a lot more for me]. Another thing to look forward to is the variety of colors and designs you can choose from. There definitely is the since that these bottle cases are designed with style in mind and are inspired by fashion and seems quite timeless and not too trendy. I chose a natural design in the color Tutu. A color I would describe as a breathless pink. I love the color, which looks even more gorgeous in person than it did on my computer screen. Something else to note is that each color has its own little brief story on the website. It’s honestly too cute!   

Pricing and other things to note

I would say this is definitely a luxury water bottle and the cost certainly reflects that. The most inexpensive bottle on the website would be the Teeny which is $28 but that’s only for 250 ml! Compared to the most popular and smallest Hydro Flask Wide Mouth bottle which is about $29.95 for a 532 ml. While S’well’s smallest water bottle is 266 ml is about $25. It could seem a bit overpriced considering that both the S’well and Hydro Flask are actually thermal bottles that make the claim of keeping your water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. Although the BKR does neither—it can make up for it in other ways. The BKR bottle is made out of glass, which is supposed to be free of harsh chemicals. It also makes the water taste a lot purer and is a lot better for the environment.

That being said; I have owned a thermal bottle twice before and I can say although it is nice to have your water keep at a certain temperature for a long period of time; since using the BKR bottle I do notice a difference with taste compared to the thermally insulated bottles. I also like being able to see straight into the bottle and the water itself; knowing that their isn't anything funky going on.

Is it worth it?

I say yes! I have had this bottle for about two months now and I honestly have no complaints with it thus far. If you can justify the price and it fits into your lifestyle why not? Of course, I wasn’t sure how durable the actual glass would be at first, but it seems pretty solid and the case is thick enough to where it doesn’t make me feel too subconscious about it breaking whenever I have it with me. The bottle itself is also pretty easy to clean, thanks in due part to the perfect bottle brush. I would also recommend cleaning it on a regular basis to insure that both your bottle and water are looking and tasting their best. Overall, I would definitely recommend this bottle if you are looking for something that will both make you want to drink your water regularly and feel luxurious--all at the same time.   




By Bethany Reed, (@brrphoto



Whether I am working on an idea of my own or helping to produce someone else’s idea, my workflow [when approaching a fashion shoot] is usually always the same. The very first thing I do is look for inspiration to start putting together a mood board - so that way when I do present my idea to whoever I am asking to be on board, [like a modeling agency], they immediately have an idea of what I want to do. A mood board/vision board is a collection of images (or sometimes even physical materials/text) that can help get across the concept of the shoot. I use this to help pin down hair, makeup, location, wardrobe, and the overall mood of the shoot. Pinterest is amazing!

Here is a mood board from a recent shoot of mine. The idea was to go over to Sun Valley, where Southern CA was recently hit with some pretty horrible fires to find some charred up spots to shoot in. That was really the bones of the shoot and we built it from there. The model knew of an amazing HMUA (hair and makeup artist) and the two of them exchanged some ideas that she later shared them with me. Later, I added that to my mood board. I tried to include sample images of the location as well as some props I wanted to try, and some wardrobe and posing inspo.



After we set a date that worked for all of us my last step was to find a stylist. I used to really love styling all of my own shoots but having a professional stylist on board elevates the shoot to another level, especially if it’s an editorial. Financially, it makes more sense right now as well since I used to buy/thrift all of  my own pieces, and that really adds up quickly. Once the stylist was confirmed I was then able to create a Call Sheet (essentially a schedule of the day that also includes the entire team’s contact information and the shoot details. I also include my mood board on my call sheet) and send it out to everyone. When working through a model's agent, it is imperative to keep them in the loop and make sure they receive all of this information as well.

Day Of

On shoot days I’m always super nervous. Especially because as the photographer, if you’re not setting up a studio or prepping in another way, the first hour or two of the shoot you’re just sitting around waiting for the model to finish hair and makeup and planning out shots in your head.

This particular shoot I wanted to be more editorial than my recent work so when shooting, my focus was centered heavily on posing. This is where working with an experienced model was a must for me - I love weird and unusual movement and exaggerated angles and not all models know how to move that way. I used my wide angle (24-70mm) lens a lot of this day to really exaggerate the model and capture how amazing our location was. I also had a separate filter with me that I had covered with a thin layer of chap-stick to give some of the images this pretty hazy feel. If i’m not using that I’m using my Sigma Art 50mm for the tighter shots.

On test shoots it is also my job to remember to not only shoot for myself, but to get shots focused on the styling and the hair/makeup so that every member of the team has usable images.

We were only able to shoot three looks that day because we ran out of light, and hair/makeup was changed after each look. If you’re hoping to submit for publication you probably want to have anywhere from 4-7 looks, although there are plenty of publications that accept way fewer looks. We also had a later call time than I prefer, but due to scheduling sometimes that is unavoidable. The earlier the better is my motto because there are usually problems to solve and if you start early you have time to solve them. 


Although I don’t always follow this rule, I TRY to import my images into Lightroom immediately after the shoot and back them up to a drive just in case. After that I go through all of the images and star my favorites, then I send those in contact sheets to the team so they can pick their selects. I don’t always know what to look for in hair and makeup shots so I value the opinions of my team. If working through an agency I also send the contact sheets their way so they can pick their choices to be retouched. I am notorious for spreading myself too thin and retouching way too many images but it is not uncommon to only receive a handful of photos from a test shoot - especially since time is money and no one was being paid. 

Here is a sample image from our shoot and a brief run-down of my retouching workflow:

-  First I do global adjustments in Lightroom. 
(adjusting highlights and shadows as well as color sometimes and enabling profile corrections.)

- Then, from Lightroom I open the image in Photoshop to do more detailed retouching.

- Once I am satisfied I save the images back into Lightroom and add any finishing touches. 99% of the time there is some grain. For this, I look to see that those changes are subtle. I try to keep my retouching as realistic as possible. 


Photographed by Bethany Reed

Photographed by Bethany Reed

Photographed by Bethany Reed

Photographed by Bethany Reed

Here are some rules I follow when shooting fashion:

- Usually I shoot the model BELOW eye level; this helps elongate them.

- I also Keep a close eye on wardrobe - it’s the little things that can turn a beautiful image into a messy one.

- If your model has their hands in their pockets, remember THUMBS OUT! Otherwise they have wrists with no hands attached.

- I often carry around reference poses on my phone for models who aren't as experienced or to make sure we get a similar shot.