Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Five Archetypes of Miss Kellee Maize (Get to know: Pittsburgh's female rapper & CEO of Nakturnal)

Photo courtesy of Laura Petrilla { http://www.misslphotography.com/ }
I had the chance to sit down and chat with Kellee Maize last week in lovely Shadyside (Walnut Street is probably my favorite street in Pittsburgh).  Such a sweet person, we talked about her life, her sense of style and her favorite places to eat in Pittsburgh! Also, the time she bumped into Lady Gaga.  First off, Kellee explained that for all of her music videos and professional photos (all taken by Laura Petrilla), Kellee uses local Pittsburgh fashion designers! Some of these designers include Sew Addicted, Vanessa German, Buy Suz and Ali Pace.  When it comes to fashion, she has 5 archetypes, or sides to her personality.  Everyone has different sides to their personality, right?  This was, of course, the very first question that I had for her.  She explained that these are: "Mellee Kaize" (nerd meets elegant),
"Nakturnal Lady" (her business side, trendy enough for nightlife, but never a business suit),
"Innerplanetary Fairy" (her hippie side: hippie skirts, etc), "Ms. Apocalypse" (her superhero side), "Princess of Pittsburgh" (the comfortable, sporty side). Here's is the fun interview we did:

Why Pittsburgh?
It's a magnet to me. I came here for the first time when I was 16, moved here when I was 18, so I've been here for 12 years total.  I just knew that I had to be here.  I love the community , there are so many amazing artists and film makers.  It's a very spiritual place, too.

Why is it important for people to have a strong, hip, fresh voice like yours in the music world and in their life?
I'm just one of the many talented female artists out there.  If I can break open the door than it can show that you can do it, too.  It's good to bring some light to Pittsburgh. 

Same question, but why is it important for females to have a voice like yours in their life?
The hip-hop community is very male-dominated, there aren't nearly as many successful females as there are men.  I think it's an opportunity for women to see that you can be a female in Pittsburgh and have your message heard.  I think people are starting to see that women can have a place in the hip hop world with people like Nicki Minaj being out there, too.

What has been the most memorable experience as a female rapper?

I recently met Lady Gaga in a restaurant. I went up to her to introduce myself and give her my music (I don't know if I would have went up to her if I wasn't a musician). She was very cool. I asked her for a photo and she explained that she was there for a surprise birthday party and she didn't want to ruin the suprise for them by taking photos. Then, at the end of the night, she came over to me and tapped me on the shoulder and said she could do the photo. Also just the people's responses when I do live shows.  I get a lot of messages/emails from fans that are true inspiration to me. 

Explain Nakturnal a little
Nakturnal is a marketing agency that specializes in guerilla marketing through planning events, viral marketing and other nontraditional marketing.  It's female owned and operated. We deal with large corporations, small corporations and non-profits.  We've been involved in about a thousand events. 

Where are some of your favorite places to shop in Pittsburgh?
Sugar, Avalon, Figleaf & Culture Shop. 

Favorite place to eat in Pittsburgh?
Crepes Parisiennes (in Shadyside), I love the spinach & mushroom crepe. 

Favorite cuisine?
Indian & Mexican

Beauty product you can't live without?
Moisturizer. But another one would be black eyeliner.

Words to live by?
Love only. Compassion always. Those seem to be the words that get me through my days. 
 
Finally, what is your favorite way to spend a lazy Sunday?
I would eat in bed, watch good documentaries.  I don't really get too many lazy Sundays and I don't really watch TV or movies too often, so I would definitely stay in bed.  It's hard, though, because I'm always working on something.  If I had unlimited money, I'd get a massage or a facial or have my tarot cards read. I watch Steelers games with my boyfriend, too!

 Google: Female Rapper (Kellee is the first result on the search page!)
Also, download all of Kellee's music for frizzle (yes, for free) at www.kelleemaize.com/music & be sure to listen to "City of Champions", her latest song.  Warning: it's HIGHLY addictive. 
The winter months in Pittsburgh might be getting cold & dreary, but you can still put some sunshine in your day!

Light exists in every situation.  Find it.  Remember that you are equipped, at any given moment, to conquer any problem that comes your way. 

The most important thing you can do for your soul, your appearance, your body is to SMILE.  You are beautiful and capable of accomplishing ALL of your dreams! Stay positive, focus, and do it all. 

P.S. I don't know who that image belongs to! If I did, I promise I would credit you! :)


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SWOON ALERT: Free People Boutique opening this Friday in Bakery Square!




I have been obsessed with Free People for quite some time now.  Their lookbooks are ALWAYS stunning and they are opening here in Pittsburgh in Bakery Square.  This is a BIG deal.  Free People is owned by the same company as Anthropologie & Urban Outfitters (some other stores I can get a little obsessive with). 

Sidenote: Today, I will admit that I had a mini-meltdown.  It happens.  I was ready to cry and then I read Free People was opening THIS Friday.  Instant sunshine to my mood. 

images via Free People

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chris Callen: Deconstructed
Join Through These Walls Frontman, Chris Callen, as he gets personal and let's us in on the story behind "Suicide Doll"



I featured an interview with the local Pittsburgh band, Through These Walls last Fall.  We got to know each of the band members through a fun, goofy interview, but now, we get to learn about their music.  Specifically, the emotions frontman, Chris Callen, pours into each of the songs when he writes the lyrics.  I sat down with Callen and over some Starbucks, we chatted about what it takes to write lyrics that people can relate to. 

Suicide Doll, the first full length album released by the band, channels a suicidal female, a girl he once loved, that haunted Callen at one point of his life.  "It's the idea of trying to help out this horribly destructive person, yet at the same time, in doing so, it is draining you." Callen admits that all of his music and art (he does all of the graphics you see for Through These Walls) suggests a hint of a stuggle for balance.  Specifically, the balance between good and evil.  "No one is completely good and no one is completely evil." The grandson of a pastor, he says that he rebelled, yet retained, religion.  "Religion plays a big factor in music."  Each of the songs makes a reference to a "plea to offer help" to this sucicidal female. The inner demons inside of this girl slowly make their way into the guy trying to help her. However, as destructive as that sounds, "writing this album really brought closure to the situation." So, why does Chris Callen insist that you should be anxiously awaiting the release of Suicide Doll? "Anyone can relate to our music." As for advice to someone who is dealing with a situation similar to what Callen went through with his "sucide doll": "If it's something worth saving, put yourself on the line, but you have to save yourself first." One specific lyric that he can pinpoint this to is: one last chance to free my past from the consequence that the shadows cast.

 Suicide Doll will be released this Spring and Callen notes that "it feels really good as an artist to take the time to craft an album."  Initally, Callen wasn't always so open to letting the other guys in on his writing process.  With time, though, he found it to be helpful.  "As soon as I opened up to the other guys about writing, instead of being so guarded about it, I found that they could all relate (Brad, Ryan & Jesse), which made the process easier."

When I asked Chris Callen what his thoughts on groupies were, he replied, "I'm anti-groupie."  (I found it only appropriate since I asked each former band member of Loko Phylum in my last blog post).  Additionally, "Suicide Doll is the epitome of a groupie." It's always fascinating to see what musicians have to say about these nutty females.  "Chase the music, not the musician", Callen says on a final note.  Look forward to a killer release party when Suicide Doll comes out this Spring.  Get your hands on a copy of their album and be sure to follow them on Twitter & like them on Facebook (so you know exactly when to do so.)

I'll leave you with the quote that Chris Callen left me with, as we were finishing our Starbucks and chatting about other things. "If you think you know what I'm thinking about at any given time, you probably don't." (Sensitive, deep, yet very nebulous). I don't know about all of you, but I'm excited to hear all of the songs featured on Suicide Doll. 

{ http://www.throughthesewalls.com/ }
{ www.twitter.com/ttwrock }

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chatting with the guys of Loko Phylum backstage before their Reunion Show
"This is the last show we never had the chance to do"- Skip Douglas

This past Saturday, the crowds came out for the Loko Phylum reunion show.  Before disbanding in 2006, Loko Phylum rocked Pittsburgh (and the country) with success due (in part) to the Myspace era.  Remember that ancient thing called Myspace?  They toured the country for two months and when they disbanded, they never lost any fans.  This was proven at Diesel when everyone came out to see this final show.  Everyone raved that the band sounded like they had never taken time off.  I had the chance to chat with each of the guys before their final show and ask them a few questions.  I will admit that I didn't really know who Loko Phylum was (I know, I know, was I living under a rock?) before this show.  I was off at college while they were raging with success getting lost in Architectural models.  So, when I met up with each of the guys, I had no idea what to expect.  I was way impressed with how cool each of them were, how different each guy was from the next.  Then, how amazing their show was.  

Band Profile:
Cheap Mustard, 27, Keyboard
Aaron "Last name's 'crazy'" Hreczkosiej, 27, Guitar, Vocals
Skip Douglas, 26, Vocals/Frontman
Chris Fuze, 26, Guitar
Nick Prezioso, 27, Bass
Frank Bachurski, 26, Drums

The Vintage Rush: What have you been up to since the band split in 2006?
Cheap Mustard:  I moved to California.  I'm a producer/engineer. I work in a studio.
Aaron Hreczkosiej: I've been working intensely on music; trying to focus on healing energy and a positive spiritual outlook on life.
Skip Douglas:  Started a new band, Doomsday Initiative with bass player Nick Prezioso, or Prez. 
Nick Prezioso: I went back to school at the Art Institute for Web Design. 
Chris Fuze: Purchasing real estate.  Ice hockey.
Frank Bachurski: Since the split, I have continued to stay active in the entertainment scene with my company, Faded Industry Entertainment and have ventured into the spirits importing business as well. 

The Vintage Rush: How would you describe the music of Loko Phylum?
CM: It's fun; all about the show, live and energetic.  It sounds a lot like Hed PE , Incubus & the Deftones. 
AH: We're very influenced by Incubus and Hed PE. We have the same setup as Incubus; 2 guitar players, the singer is more dialect.  Another influence is the Deftones.  Our music is pretty raw, it tells a story.  It shouldn't be very direct, you should feel an emotional connection and interpret it in your own way. 
SD: Agressive Progressive Rock.  Hard Rock.  It's like Rage Against the Machine met a couple of other bands that you might like. 
NP: Atmospheric Hard Rock.
CF: Hard Rock. 
FB: Our music is considered hard rock, I guess.  But it has a lot of diversity to it.  We cross over genres in each song. 

TVR: What makes this show so memorable?
CM: Since it's been so long since we've been together, it's nice to bring back the memories.  There's not too many things that you can do to bring back memories of when we were all in the band together. 
AH: I get to experience the loving comradery; my friends are back.  Theres no tension tonight like we have to get a record deal.  We're all back here.  There's a lot of people here that didn't ever get a reunion show, so I'm glad to be able to give them that. 
SD: Besides the obvious, this is the last show that we never got to do.  While we were disbanding, we never got to do a show that said "this it it." It's awesome to have everyone back in the same place at the same time.  The fact that so many people are going to come out to see a band that has been split since 2006 shows what you can do.  Anything. 
 FB: We had a lot of success and a lot of fans that really supported us back in the day.  It will be great to see them all come out for one last banger!

TVR: What was your favorite experience from back in the days of Loko Phylum?
CM: Touring.  None of us had any idea what to expect.  We toured for 2 months and it definitely was a journey. 
AH: Touring was my favorite experience.  Traveling across the country.  Specifically, our RV broke down in Georgia.  We had invested thousands of dollars into it and it broke down.  Ironically enough, it was the night of a Steeler's playoff game.  We had shows booked all over the country and no idea what was wrong with this RV, so we figured we'd drink.  However, it was a dry town.  Long story short, some guy helped us drink and while we were sleeping that night, the RV fired up in the middle of the night.  We all just thought "let's go."
SD: Doing the Warped Tour shows.  It was right around the end of it all when we were getting contract offers.  It was cool to be around all of those bands. 
FB:  The whole entire 2 month tour that we went on would have to collectively be the best memory from being in the band. 

What is the oddest experience you've ever had with a groupie?
CM: One girl tried to drink a half gallon of milk in under a minute and threw up everywhere.  It was really funny. 
AH: It is what it is with groupies.  I tried to stay away from all of it.  I wish I could just tell young kids that are partying too hard to slow down. 
SD: Frank pulled down some girls pants and told me to sign her ass.  I didn't though, I ended up signing her back. 
NP: Some girl took a picture in front of my house and sent it to me.  That wasn't too bad, though. I was manhandled by Meg Griffin, too. 
CF: I plead the 5th.  I can't get anyone in trouble.  I'm not a kiss and tell kinda guy. 
FB: There is no way that I can tell the public about my weirdest groupie experience. I would most likely end up in jail or talking to a psychiatrist.  But trust me, we had our fun back in the days of Loko Phylum. 

TVR: Some words to live by?
CM: Recognize the opportunities. 
AH: I've been thinking about this a lot because I want to have this conversation with my brother's daughter, who's 10.  I would tell her that you can do anything you want to.  Your mind controls everything.  We set our own boundaries.  Veer away from other people's negativity because that's their perception.  People are fucking wimps.  Life is about overcoming your fears and living freely. 
NP: Do as I say, not as I do.
CF: You're asking the wrong guy.  (Another band member chimes in, "just say, Where's Bruce Willis?")
SD: Live with no regrets.
FB: Never come to a Loko Phylum show without protection. 















Monday, January 17, 2011

Golden Globes 2011: Hollywood's Leading Ladies Dazzle Us With Killer Fashion


Getty Images
{Angelina Jolie in Atelier Versace}
Image via Gothamist
{Natalie Portman switches it up for a Fox afterparty}

{Olivia Wilde in a Marchesa gown}

Image via Gothamist
{Lea Michelle of Glee}

{Mila Kunis looking flawless in Vera Wang}




{A pregnant Rachel Zoe}

Thursday, January 13, 2011

That's Munny, Honey
the kidrobot do-it-yourself toy that blew up the Art world

View Image

I'm sure you've seen these decorated toys everywhere.  It seems as though everyone has made one.  A lot of major artist has a line of kidrobot toys.  For instance, Tara McPherson and Buff Monster.  Did you know that they were meant for you to do?  (I.e. they were meant for everyone to play with, not just major artists). They sell them at Urban Outfitters in South Side Works for $10.  Pick one up and decorate it however you want to!

They come with a mystery accessory and I've heard oddball stories about people always getting an accessory that fits their personality.  My sister, for instance, bought a Munny and got a pair of glasses.  Another time, while working on paintings with a TV-head theme, she got a TV. So, it's always interesting to see what mystery accessory you'll get.   

Go buy a Munny, decorate it and snap a photo of it! Email it to me & I will feature it here on the blog! Have fun with it!


 
{ I featured Buff Monster on the blog a few weeks ago and here is a Munny that he did.}


{Hugh Rose}



{Tado}



Sunday, January 9, 2011

Go Aquatic the Next Time You Hit the Nail Salon.

The shade of blue that's catching everyone's eye.

So, Lauren Conrad might have been caught off guard in this obvious paparazzi snapshot, but let's focus in on her nails (that don't look caught off guard).  This color of blue has literally been taking over the world in the past few months.  I wore this color over the weekend for all of my socializing (and work, of course).  I searched for an affordable similar shade for days upon days and after finding it finally, I am here to share this valuable information with all of you.  In this photo, Lauren is wearing a Chanel shade.  I don't know about you, but there is always a new shade of polish catching my eye so I rarely wear the same shade twice over the course of a few months. (Which would make it a bit excessive to blow more than $20 for a nail polish.) So, I found a shade (Gumdrop) of Orly nail polish (only $7) at Ulta.  That beats a $25 bottle of Chanel.  (Not that I don't love, love, love Chanel). 
Simone by Katie Nehra

Photo via LA Times

I stumbled across a dress that was to die for in this month's issue of Cosmopolitan (with Mila Kunis on the cover).  I rarely read Cosmo, because it has no fashion in it and the same "tips" over and over (and over and over) again.  However, my friend was talking about it at work and I decided to give it a whirl (because I was about to hit the gym and had nothing to read!)  Back to this dress, it was a Simone by Katie Nehra dress. 

Katie Simone Nehra is an actress who lives in Los Angeles & New York City.  Always having a passion for fashion, she decided to originally create a "dress line" of dresses she wanted but couldn't find anywhere.  Now, Simone (her middle name) has evolved into a full fashion line, including some amazing leather jackets.  Worn by Charlize Theron, Nicole Richie & Rachel Zoe, this a designer to keep an eye out for!
 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Winter Kate: Spring 2011 Lookbook

Everytime Winter Kate by Nicole Richie releases a new lookbook, I get a little excited.  Okay, overly excited.  Winter Kate always offers soft, bohemian looks, which is precisely what I love about fashion.  Among all things in fashion, I like wearable, organic looks. 

Winter Kate by Nicole Richie is named after her daughter's two middle names.  Also named after her daughter, Harlow: her House of Harlow 196o line.  Winter Kate recently came out with their 2011 lookbook and it is a vision of floral prints.  Everything about this line has always been boho-chic.  For the lookbook, Nicole Richie chose to use a model who might look familiar: Nicole Fox (winner of America's Top Model). 













Photos courtesy Full Frontal Fashion & Winter Kate

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Babycakes NYC Bakery: Healthy Cupcakes?
Can't make it to New York or LA for these delish baked goods? Pick up the cookbook.

Babycakes in a bakery in New York City that bakes up delish gluten-free and vegan treats every day.  Everything they make is organic and all natural.  They take baked goods (that everyone can eat) to a whole new level and I stumbled across a cookbook they have out.  Perfect for those of us who don't live in New York City or Los Angeles (the store's two locations.) Natalie Portman is quoted in the book explaining that when she decided to go vegan, she thought she would have to give up sweets, but Babycakes in New York City changed everything for her.  For those of you who aren't vegan or gluten-free, these cupcakes are free of refined sugar and kosher.  Cupcakes free of refined sugar, that taste good? Yes, please.  And yes, these treats fall into the category of clean eating

Founded by Erin McKenna, she wanted to design a bakery that offered healthy cupcakes that people on a diet could eat and not feel guilty about.  Soon enough, once people found that healthy ingredients could make a tasty cupcake... her bakery grew to be famous. 



All photos courtesy of Babycakes NYC
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