women build women

Gabrielle

Sarah Sharp is a woman of wit and grace. She could be described as the best friend or sister that you wish you had and never knew how much you needed. I had the honor to pick her brain and now get to share some of her indispensable wisdom.

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VV. Tell us a bit about yourself

SS. My name is Sarah Sharp. I grew up in a suburb outside of Portland, Oregon, where most of my family still lives. Now I live and work in Brooklyn, where I’m a copywriter at an advertising agency. Besides those things I like to cook, tweet about my feelings, blog (sometimes), I’m learning to embroider, and about to buy a new sewing machine.

VV. As a woman working in the advertising industry, what have you learned?

SS. I genuinely feel like I’m learning all the time. Gross, I know. I think it’s always that way; you just have to keep getting better. I’d say I’ve grown most in the strategic part of being a “creative,” like how to present to people I’m intimidated by; how to defend work I believe in; how to accept feedback graciously, or get what I need via carefully worded email. I’m still learning this stuff, but it’s honing these more administrative skills that lets your actual work, the ideas you have, get better and really shine.

VV. What has been one of your proudest moments?

SS. I think the moments I’ve been most proud of myself are small ones that symbolize a lot. I’m sentimental that way.

There was a time last spring, leaving work in that perfect not-quite-summer New York sunshine. My partner and I had finished a really productive day and the weather had us in great spirits, so we went to a nearby bar where they put an apple and a half into a juicer and juice it into a glass already half full of whiskey and you drink two and need to lie down. Anyway, we went there and had some of those apple juice drinks and an appetizer and then went our separate ways. As I was wandering through soho by myself I realized that I was just really happy. The sun was still out, I was wearing a new dress, and I had no plans. It had been a tough year—moving to a new city, getting my first real job, going through a breakup. I didn’t realize how exhausting it all was until I was through it, noticing for the first time in that sunny spring moment that I had made it, that I had been making it for a while.

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VV. What would you like to see change for women in the working world?

SS. I want to see socialized feminine traits valued the same way socialized masculine traits are. It’s totally fine for women to “lean in,” but we set women up for failure when we suggest that being more traditionally masculine is the way to solve inequality, not least because it isn’t the sole job of women to dismantle inequality, but of course, because women are judged more harshly than men when they’re assertive and outspoken like we tell them to be. It’s a trap, and a mental gerbil’s wheel that gets us nowhere. And most of all: women have grown up in the same world but lived very different lives from their male counterparts. We have different skills and perspectives because of that, and they are incredibly valuable! I want women to be able to own their experience and perspective, and bring their best qualities to the table, even if they’re considered feminine. For this to happen, we have to start acknowledging all the structural bias we give more masculine traits, and make space for all types of humans on the gender spectrum to be successful.

VV. Do you have any words of advice for women and in what ways do you think that women can continue to build each other up and empower one another?

SS. Two things. One: let yourself acknowledge when things are hard or fucked up. It’s important to take time to be disappointed, angry, and just fucking annoyed sometimes, especially with someone who can relate. Sometimes all you want is for someone else to say, “Wow, that’s so unfair. I’ve experienced that too. I’m sorry.” Find that person. You can only understand the powers at be if you acknowledge they exist. You can only protect yourself, and advocate for a safer, more inclusive world if you’re honest about the need for those things. You need a safe space to have those feelings and conversations. I think we owe that to ourselves and each other.

Being a professional while compensating for privileges you don’t have is exhausting, but it’s also a type of resistance training that pays off. Processing this stuff makes you smarter. Understanding how the world works, how power works, makes you more insightful. Feeling the need for change makes you more generous. I have to believe those things win.

VV. You have a witty and humorous twitter, what inspires these tweets?

SS. I tell people on the internet my stupidest jokes and most embarrassing personal stories and in return I get validation. It’s kind of like, who needs a significant other?

Honestly, it’s a good way to practice brevity and it’s helped me develop my voice a lot. I hate that I just said that, god.

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VV. You share your own blog posts with some beautiful insights and intimate thoughts, what inspires you to write these?

SS. At work, most of the writing I do is for presentation slides. I’m stupidly optimistic so I will say that presentation writing is somewhat of an art and it has made me sharper. But in college I was writing pages and pages and pages, making up whatever arguments I wanted about female character development or why exactly a painting could make me nostalgic. I miss being able to stretch an idea over several thousand words—just to have that much space to play with.

I’ve loved writing since I was a kid, but it just occured to me in the last couple of years that I can actually sit down and write about personal things that are challenging me, and get somewhere, find a coherent argument along the way. I like sharing that stuff because, as with twitter, I like validation. I’m sort of joking, but I do like hearing or seeing that other people feel the same way or appreciate what I have to say. That’s always nice.

VV. As a writer what would you say to other women pursuing writing?

SS. Hm. I’m going to give advice I need to take, which is: just start calling yourself a writer and then write, and then keep writing—even if you’re worried you aren’t that good or that you have nothing new to say.

I learned to ski when I was five and fearless. Now I’m a competent, even good, skier but I’m also a fully-formed adult who understands physical pain and hospital bills. If I tried to learn to ski now, I’d be so afraid.

You’re probably never going be less afraid of starting than you are right now. The vulnerability, the distinct flavor of failure and rejection, your own internal pressure to be better—these are constants. Take a deep breath, remember that literally every person who writes first decided they were allowed to take up that space, to put that title by their name, and do the same even if you feel like you’re faking it.

If you’re already doing all this keep going and please give me advice.

VV. Any final thoughts?

SS. Thanks for having me! Follow me on twitter. Kidding. Sort of. @sarahissharp

VV. Seriously, follow this gal on Twitter and while you’re at it, check out her blog. You won’t regret it!

may goals

Gabrielle

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At the beginning of each month the ladies of Velvet + Vinyl are asked to come up with goals to work towards. There is no limit to what a goal can be and they range from personal goals to big ideas and what we want for the blog. This month, we decided to share our goals in hope that it will motivate you to set your own.

As for me, one of my goals is to focus on self-love and self care. The chaos of life sometimes throws routine out the window and demands attention elsewhere. It doesn’t appear that things will be slowing down anytime soon, so I want to commit to taking a bit of time focus on myself without losing sight of all of my commitments and priorities. It is as simple as watching my eating habits and listening to my body to eat better and disconnecting from technology to get creative and work on some art.

Another goal is to see this blog grow and continue to build relationships with our readers. I wouldn’t be part of this team if I didn’t believe in and have passion for what Velvet + Vinyl is all about. I have nothing but big dreams for V+V and can’t wait to see where May takes us.

Libby:

My goal for this month is to be more rebellious.

In the past few weeks I’ve been confined to my comfort zone, and I’m determined to challenge that. I want to abandon my inclination to stick with what’s safe and instead find the courage to pursue the thrill of the unknown. I want to feed my curiosity and follow through with the goals and to-do’s I’ve overlooked.

Kristin:

This month, I want to work more deeply on finessing my editing style, and really expanding on new concepts for shoots and video for both the fashion and music industry. Continuing to reach out to artists will be a running goal for the next few months.

Additionally, I want to work more in video. Now that I have my new editing system, I will have more resources to make editing extra clean.

I want to collaborate with lostboycrow in an interview and do a ticket giveaway for mother mother during the month of May.

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Kristy:

To shoot a look book with a Portland company I have been talking to. The girl is amazing and I would love to promote how girl next door and effortless the company is/

See how to transform an art pieces into a post that fits the V+V aesthetic.

Rachael:

My goals mainly are to continue to grow in a way that is effective in helping me discover my true passions and style when it comes to fashion, music, art and all things creative. I’ve been recently digging into what I want to do in the future regarding a career and I’ve come to realize I am very passionate about pursuing things I didn’t even recognize that I was before (such as photography and different art styles as opposed to just writing).

I also plan on reaching out to more members of the team to try to get to know them more.

Baylee:

My goals for myself this month is to learn to live a healthier lifestyle. I’m finally home from school and I’m using this time to reset and focus on bettering myself.

Baili:

My goals are to have 1500 of followers by end of may and to learn how to use DSLR.

Marin:

My goals is to get us to 1000 followers this month on the Instagram and to keep taking photos that align with our Insta aesthetic yet are still high quality.

Get inspired by the ambitious goals of our girl gang and set some for yourself!

sprung on you

Gabrielle

It’s spring. The weather is changing and so is the mood. We have all survived winter, now it’s time to look ahead. Put away the wardrobe fit for the cold and bring out the fun and flowy. Off the shoulder tops, culottes and sandals; the spring fit. Get inspired by the season and see where it takes your wardrobe.

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Photos by Melissa Epifano

tired

Gabrielle

I am tired of the idea of what is right and wrong when it comes to our bodies, the way we choose to do our makeup and the clothes we decide to wear.

bodies

Bodies.

Our bodies are not only objectified, but idealized as well. Society combined with the media has a powerful influence of telling us how a woman should look. An advertisement showing slim and lean figures calls us to love our curves when those curves are not represented. Should we have the slim figure or a body sculpted out of curves? There are too many expectations when it comes to the appearance of our bodies and it creates negative expectations and beliefs that do nothing but harm. We internalize the projections of society and the media, lowering our confidence, harming our health and hurting our over-all well being. Many go through harmful lengths to achieve the unachievable idealization when the truth is that each and every one of us is beautiful just the way we are.

When it comes to our beautiful bodies there is no right or wrong.

makeup

Makeup.

There is a stigma revolving around those who choose to wear makeup and those who go make-up free. Someone who wears a full face of makeup is fake and shouldn’t be trusted because you don’t know how they may actually look underneath it all. On the other hand, if someone doesn’t wear makeup, they must be lazy and not care about their appearance or perhaps they are anti-makeup. It is as if there is no in between. The truth is the amount of make-up one wears or the amount of time one takes to get ready does not define who they are.

When it comes to makeup, there is no right or wrong.

clothes

Clothes.

Because no one body is the same, different clothes will fit each body differently. Something may have a tighter fit for one and a looser fit on another. The tightness of ones clothes does not define who they are. The amount of skin showing or lack there of does not determine who they are. A certain amount of judgment comes from ones clothes. We are told by society what trends to follow and what the hottest styles are, but we don’t always have to follow the rules.

When it comes to how we dress, there is not right or wrong.

Do what makes you feel authentic. There is no right or wrong.

Artwork by Gabrielle

the meaning of beautiful

Gabrielle

I asked the remarkable ladies of Velvet + Vinyl to share their thoughts on the concept of beauty and the meaning of beautiful. Here is what they had to say:

Gabrielle Gomez

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Beauty and the definition of beautiful are intimate and personal. We have many ideas and influences of what beauty should  be, but at the end of the day that definition will always be our own. I will admit, beauty is something I constantly overthink. With new makeup trends and products, or innovative hair styling tools and hair styles, I find myself thinking about how I should look and if that falls into this idea of how society tells me to look. It is easy to get caught up looking in the mirror and picking apart every flaw I see in myself however nobody else see’s the flaws I zone in on. The reality is that I don’t have to use the latest makeup, have perfect styled hair or look like the ideal body. I just have to gently remind myself that I am beautiful the way I am, flaws and all.

Melissa Epifano

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I want to be honest: I’ve rarely felt beautiful in my life. Since I was little I let insults hold a higher status than compliments–and I held compliments in higher regard than how I felt about myself. Looking in the mirror used to be painful (and still kind of is). And submitting this photo was very difficult for me, but during college I’ve been working hard to change that. Being around the women of Velvet n’ Vinyl has genuinely boosted my confidence and made me feel beautiful about my looks and my personality. I’ve also been lucky enough to have a boyfriend in my life that does the same. While other people’s opinions and the opinion of my boyfriend shouldn’t hold precedent over my own feelings, it does help having a supportive group of stunning people that hold me up on the hard days, and keep me feeling gorgeous on the good days too.

Baylee Scott

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A lot of the times it’s when I feel confident in my outfit or like my makeup that i truly feel beautiful but a true feeling of beauty is when I’m undeniably happy. Self love is a hard thing. We are all used to our own face and body so we don’t appreciate it. I feel beautiful when people that I care about compliment me. A small gesture can go a long way. Being beautiful isn’t always about appearance. The best looking human that you’ve ever seen can pale in comparison to someone with a beautiful heart. I think we all need to spend a little more time focusing on the things we like about ourself and a lot less on the things we hate.

Kristy McInnis

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I feel the most beautiful when I am eating healthy and tan so I don’t feel the need to wear any makeup. There is something so freeing about not wearing any makeup and just letting your skin breath. I think feeling beautiful is all about your state of mind at that point in time. I believe your thoughts truly reflect how you feel on the outside. When I tell myself positive things and have a positive outlook I feel confident and beautiful. There are so many different forms of beauty and I think people try to hard to just try to conform to what society views as beautiful.

Kristin Coffman

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When people think of self love, I think a lot of us think about having to love yourself MOST without makeup, naturally, or in our laziest form. More would probably say if someone prefers themselves with makeup, that makes them insecure or shows a lack of confidence. The internet is clad with people saying that “boys prefer no makeup” and girls saying “you don’t have to wear makeup to be beautiful.” Trust me: for us spooky, makeup loving, glam goth girls: we know this. And we don’t feel less love for ourselves because we choose to match our outward appearance to what is on the inside.

My own version of self love stems from my ability to love myself in all forms, and to feel confident in my skin no matter how much product is in my hair or on my face.

But: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like myself most when I had dark makeup on, and my hair spiky, dyed and straightened. This fact does not take away from my ability to feel happy with the person I look like after I wash my face at the end of day. To put into simpler words, I feel MOST like the INSIDE me when I’m vampy and a little gothy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love myself like this too. Ultimately, love your natured self and your nurtured self. They both play a role in shaping the person you are.

So to all ladies who find more love for themselves in bare pictures like this, or the full-face makeup’d selfie that is the 345th one you took and that took you 30 minutes to get: Give equal love to the version of yourself that is most vulnerable, and to the one that you feel most comfortable with even if they slightly differ. Don’t let anyone define how you should feel happiest, no matter what.

Libby Bartley

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Until recently, I hardly ever took the time to feel beautiful. I was quick to criticize my skin, my figure, my personality, my insecurities. My inability to practice self love was consuming. I always gravitated toward acknowledging my imperfections and doing so resulted in there being little capacity for me to discover and celebrate the qualities that I love about myself.

Being apart of this VV girl gang has inspired a much needed shift in my self love routine. Having a core group of driven, talented, strong-willed women has made me more gracious when it comes to loving myself, but also when it comes to loving others. These women love me so well – they shower me in compliments, they positively affirm my strengths when I second guess them and they fixate on the characteristics that make me who I am. I’ve found that this optimism that comes from positive self-talk is empowering and so contagious. The more I acknowledge the qualities I love about myself the longer my list becomes. This cycle inspires a graciousness that allows me to practice self love audaciously and unabashedly.

Wisdom has also crystallized my understanding and perception of beauty. I’ve learned to give the middle finger to the impossible standards of beauty that are imposed on me by society, models and magazines. I’ve learned the importance of eating intentionally, exercising regularly and finding a skin care routine that brings out the best in my skin, and, thus, bringing out the best in me. Above all else, I’ve learned that you uncover beauty when you discover who you are. Defy the norms and follow your intuition. True beauty will flow when you pursue the things that make you happiest.