Kelly Bondra, rising commercial photographer takes on her dreams

Kelly Bondra

People always say, a picture is worth a thousand words. But, besides words, isn’t it worth so much more than that? Behind the model, behind the clothes, behind the words, there’s someone behind the lens. They are the only person who made that photograph worth anything at all, because without them, it wouldn’t exist.

Kelly Bondra is a 20-year-old photography student at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Her face is fairy-like, a smattering of freckles spread over her cheek bones and nose. Her fiery-red hair falls in curls that brush her shoulders. She looks dainty, but her personality reflects the opposite.

She walks up to the boxing arena, almost overcome with bags, most of which are filled with camera equipment. She plops them down, straightens up and puts her hands on her hips. The last of the day’s light is streaming through the windows, covering the room in gold.

Someone makes a comment about taking advantage of the natural lighting. Bondra nods and kneels down to pull her camera out. She attaches a lens and then begins to explore the place, looking for the best lighting.

R0010062

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

“I think she has always had a creative side,” says Bondra’s mother, Kathy. She explains that as a child Kelly always loved to draw and color. She enjoyed journaling to keep track of her many ideas and did well on writing assignments.

“I think she has always had a creative side.”

“Kelly was a quiet infant, didn’t like to sleep all that much,” Kathy says. “But what soothed her was music and colored lights.” Bondra’s love of music continues today. She often takes inspiration for her many shoots from music.

“It sounds really cheesy, but I get a lot of my inspiration for different shots from music,” Bondra explains. “Whether it’s a melody or a lyric, sometimes I just get this image that I want to create from that.”

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

One of the models has on a mesh shirt over a little black dress and a pair of Nike sneakers. The boxing ring will serve as the set for a high fashion, boxing shoot. Bondra says she got the idea when she saw the mesh shirt in a store.

This shoot is for Thread magazine, an on-campus, student-run publication. It will premiere in the magazine’s final issue of the academic year. A team of student assistants in Thread help Bondra set up her shots. They move around huge umbrellas and board reflectors to manipulate the natural light, creating the perfect shadows on the model.

Bondra styles models in different poses in different places. One sits in a chair, wrapping her hand in tape, another is placed so she casts a shadow of herself taking up a boxing pose. Some of the assistants suggest other poses and Bondra tries to explain her vision for the shoot.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

As a fashion photographer, she also gets a lot of ideas from clothing.

“Sometimes I’ll see a cute dress or shirt or something and I just think, ‘I have to shoot that!'” Bondra says. “So I end up buying a lot of clothes. That’s how I thought of the shoot Maggie.” She explains that she saw the blue dress hanging in a local boutique and immediately thought of Maggie.

Maggie Heltzel, another student at Ohio University, regularly models for Bondra. She is featured in many shoots and Bondra says she has become a sort of muse as well as a good friend.

“Kelly puts herself into her work. It’s personal. I think that’s why we’ve grown so close while working together,” says Heltzel. “I’ve learned more about her through the creative process than I otherwise would have.

Maggie in her blue dress, photos by Kelly Bondra

After she finds the inspiration for a shoot, Bondra often turns to Pinterest to find photos that resemble shots that she may want to create herself. This leads to more concrete ideas for lighting, styling and even the models she chooses. Next is picking a location. Sometimes, the location is obvious, such as with the high fashion boxing shoot, other times it takes a while to figure it out. Bondra has shot at a mansion, in a parking garage, in a greenhouse, at little ponds and of course in the studio.

A sweater series by Kelly Bondra

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

As the natural light dissipates, Bondra moves on to a few action shots. There’s a practice dummy that someone drags from the corner. The plan is to have one model pose next to it while the other model kicks it.

Over and over the model swings her leg up towards the dummy’s face as Bondra clicks away, snapping a photo during each kick. She adjusts her angle, crouching down, nearly sitting on the floor. She points her lens up and someone counts down. The model throws another kick. The lights flash and the countdown begins again.

The shot still isn’t perfect. The team adjusts the position of the lights and strengthens them. Bondra backs up a bit. Now she is crouched on the floor of the boxing ring, her arms reach though the ropes, camera in hands. Everyone prepares for the next shot. Another countdown starts.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Bondra wasn’t always on the path to becoming a photographer. Initially she was a publication design major. Her love of photography started her junior year of high school in a photography class. She really loved the class and thought more and more about making it a career. At the same time, Bondra was heavily involved in editing her school paper.

She wasn’t really sure about going into photography after high school though. “I graduated in the top 25 percent of my class, so no one really expected me to go into a field like photography,” she explains. Bondra says she didn’t get much outside support aside from that of her parents.

“No one really expected me to go into a field like photography”

“As her parents, we were always encouraging all our children to try different things, and not to give up,” says Kathy. “I was initially surprised when she decided to pursue photography but I believe she was inspired by her art teachers in high school.  As she became more and more interested, I saw how this all fit her personality, it was becoming more than a hobby.”

Much like in high school, after Bondra took her first photography class in college, her interest grew even more. She worked with Gary Kirksey and Larry Hamel-Lambert, two photography professors in the School of Visual Communication to develop her interest. Hamel-Lambert encouraged Bondra to attend a workshop in Cleveland at BurkleHagen, a food photography studio.

“I never had an interest in food photography until I saw their studio,” says Bondra. “It was unbelievable. I really got involved and interested during that workshop, even though I was the youngest one there.”

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The action eventually moved into the ring. Two models posed in the center of the ring as if they were ready to fight. Bondra turned to the owner of the boxing studio and asked if the models were posed correctly. The owner jumped in the ring and adjusted the poses to reflect a real boxer’s stance.

R0010082

R0010083

R0010079

Bondra decided to trade out gloves so one model was wearing punching pads and the other was wearing practice gloves. She asked the model to actually punch the practice pads. Swing after swing and click after click, Bondra moved around them as they continued with the motion, eventually getting the shot she wanted.

The team decided it was time to move on to a few potential cover photo shots. The models changed outfits again and relaxed into more normal poses.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

As soon as Bondra returned to Athens, she switched her major to commercial photography. She wrote a thank you letter to BurkleHagen for the experience she gained and asked if they offered internships.

“She works really hard, and it shows in her images. Kelly is good at styling, lighting, finding interesting locations and adding a concept to her photographs,” says Hamel-Lambert. “Kelly has been an excellent student and a great role model for younger VisCom [Visual Communication] majors. She attends class regularly and actively participates in classroom camera and lighting demonstrations.” He explains how Bondra is not only involved in her classes, she also participates in student publications like Thread and is a part of the School of Visual Communication’s Ambassador Program.

A few weeks later she was asked to intern at BurkleHagen during the summer of 2016. She accepted and went on to enjoy a summer of photographing food in Cleveland, Ohio.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

After taking a few more images of the models by themselves, the team moved on to shooting images for the cover.

R0010077

R0010073

For this issue of Thread, the editor-in-chief was looking for a cover photo with two people on it. This was the perfect opportunity for Bondra.

The two models posed, one sitting on a bench in front in front of the ring, the other leaning on the ropes behind her. They used a few boxing gloves as props and gave their best competitive faces. Bondra snapped some photo, again crouching on the floor. Everyone in the room was getting excited, this could be the perfect cover photo for this issue.

As soon as Bondra got the perfect shot, they moved on to the final few shots.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

“She was the youngest person to attend, but I only know that because Larry Hamel-Lambert told me. She was not only proficient, but had a good portfolio,” said Andrew Burkle, one of the owners of BurkleHangen Food Photography. “She sent us a thank you card after the event with one of her photos on it, then subsequently asked if we had summer internships available. It was an easy choice for us.”

During Bondra’s internship with BurkleHagen she did everything from taking out the trash, walking her boss’s dog, grabbing lunch for the crew and of course assisting on shoots including one for Burger King.

“Kelly enjoyed and embraced the opportunity to work in a studio everyday. She was often put in positions that were outside of her comfort zone and takes that she had never done before, but she asked the right questions and accomplished,” says Burkle. “She’s smart and she’s self sufficient. Also, on weekends or after work she would stay to work on her own projects. That showed us she was serious about this career.”

“She’s smart and self sufficient.”

He explains that Bondra was very advanced for a photographer her age. Her professor, Hamel-Lambert, agrees, adding, “Although she photographs mainly in a fashion and portrait style, Kelly is also a talented food photographer. She is a much better photographer, at her current age, than I ever was as a student.”

“I really enjoyed my internship at BurkleHagen. I liked learning about food photography, I’m still not sure that’s exactly what I want to do in the future though,” says Bondra.

Some of Kelly Bondra’s food photography

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

As the shoot wrapped up, Bondra wanted to take one more photo of each of the models, separately. She put them towards the back of the ring, and lit only that area. Another member of the team pulled out a spray bottle. They sprayed the models so it looked like they were sweating.

Each model posed with the boxing gloves up at their face. Bondra, had to stand on a chair to keep her camera level with their faces while still getting the correct lighting.

They sprayed again and again, trying to get the perfect droplets of “sweat” streaking across the models’ faces.

R0010089

R0010086

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This summer, Bondra will be moving to New York City for an internship with Sarah Kehoe Productions, a fashion photography studio.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing first hand how fashion photography really works,” says Bondra, “as well as working with people in the industry and learning how to grow my composition, retouching and lighting skills.”

“I think once she settles on what it is she want to shoot and specialize in, she is going to be very good. I know she has an internship with a photographer in New York this summer,” says Burkle. “I really believe that will be a very decisive summer for her. I think this fall you will see more of a focus in her work and style one way or another.”

Bondra agrees, adding, “I think this will really help me decide what I want to do after I graduate.”

A Valentine’s Day project by Kelly Bondra

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The models step out of the ring and go to put their street clothes back on. Bondra takes a deep breath and releases it. She’s finished for the evening. The assistant start to pack up the umbrellas and lights. Bondra packs up her camera and lenses. She thanks the owner of the ring again and promises to send over the finished photos for them to see.

She seems relieved the shoot is over and is ready to head back home. It’s nearly 10 p.m. and everyone is tired. Bondra will now have to edit each of the photos and send them to the photo editor of Thread to be fitted for the magazine.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Kelly describes her photography style as feminine, but with an edge. She loves to include dark tones and shadows in her photographs as well as adding blue to her images. She would say that right now her style can be seen as soft but moody, dark and vulnerable.

“I’m not afraid to do weird stuff, like the butt photo,” she says, laughing. “I like that extra sense of feeling, more emotion. I try to create a concept that isn’t necessarily obvious and I also use my own personal and real emotions.”

A few of Kelly Bondra’s “weirder” shots, including “the butt photo”

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

When she’s ready to edit photos, Bondra looks through every single one she took at the shoot. Oftentimes this is upwards of 500 images. She narrows them down and narrows them down until only a few are left.

After picking her favorite unedited images, she goes in and retouches the skin and background for small blemishes. She corrects the tone to her personal preference.

With Thread however, this process is a little bit different. She simply sends her photos to the photo editor of the magazine and suggests some edits and makes a list of her favorite images. Sometimes she and editor make the same decision, but often they don’t.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

“I’m never happy at the end of a shoot,” Bondra says. “There’s always something that I wish I had done better or differently. I always find things to improve on and learn a lesson at the end of shoots.”

“Kelly needs to have more confidence in herself. While no one can hit a ‘home run’ photo every time, Kelly certainly can hit a double most all the time, and I hope that she realizes this,” says Hamel-Lambert. “She’s good now, and she is going to be a lot better in the future.”

When Bondra discusses her future, she hopes she will continue to grown in her work. She wants to create more cohesive work and have more successful shoots. She also would like to be someone that other photography students can look up to and admire.

“I’m really not worried about Kelly’s future. In my experience, a person who is as hard working, smart and talented as Kelly often go on to do great things,” says Burkle. “Whatever she decides to become, I’m confident she will go out and accomplish. Although, selfishly, I hope she graduates and wants to work for us in the future.” They’ve offered her a position at the studio for when she finishes school.

As for Bondra’s mom, she really just hopes her daughter continues to strive to be her best.

“We are proud of what Kelly‘s eyes see.  She has taught me much in these past 20 years.  She sees and listens with her heart.  I love the way she captures life and I can’t wait to see what comes next,” says Kathy. “I wish for her to try hard, be content, enjoy the people she meets along the way, develop an appreciation for the many things in life and become a great cook. And, GET A PUG!” Bondra has wanted to get a pug, her favorite dog, for several years and is hoping to get one after graduating.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Thread considered one of Bondra’s pictures for the cover of their final issue.

“They didn’t pick it because they said it was took moody and dark for spring,” says Bondra as she rolls her eyes. Several of her images appeared in a spread designed by her in the middle of the book.

“I try to capture the beauty that I see in other people,” she says. Most of the time, she is overwhelmingly successful.

The high fashion boxing shoot, final photos by Kelly Bondra

The best kept secrets about Victoria’s Secret and the truth that goes on behind the magic

Health and fitness have become leading movements and have been capturing the attention of many young women. We have finally realized it’s important to treat the human body with respect.

This includes hydrating, working out, eating right and having a positive self-image. Coincidentally, the leader in this trend is Victoria’s Secret.

Recently, Victoria’s Secret has focused on their sports line. This has included a focus on health and fitness, especially in preparation for the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. This hoopla doesn’t happen without the angels’ effort in the gym and on the runway and the employees’ effort in the stores.

It’s not all fun and games for employees

Victoria’s Secret employs thousands of women in a range of locations. Most days they can be found folding panties or looking in the back for more leggings to be added to the shelf. The truth is as much as they the clothing and fragrances, sometimes it isn’t what it’s ideal. Between the awkward fathers trying to buy bras and the way the panties table looks after the Semi-Annual Sale the secrets of a Victoria’s Secret employee makes it sound a lot more intimidating.

Give Victoria’s Secret. Unwrap sexy. ’Tis the season, after all.

A post shared by Victoria's Secret (@victoriassecret) on

“Train like an angel”

To become fit like the Victoria’s Secret angels it’s surprising to some that they focus on weight training, ballet techniques and being tone because lean is not the answer anymore. Training like an angel means bootcamp. The best techniques can be found online at the Victoria’s Secret Youtube channel. To your surprise your new routine might include more weight lifting and less cardio.

Eat healthy, be healthy

Balanced diets are the best and most successful. Regardless of vegan, high-protein or loads of vegetables and fruits eating enough, and eating right, is the best way to get results for that dream body. This does not mean having to eat small portions, but instead it means eating throughout the day and balancing the food groups. If you’re looking for ideas, check out some of the angels’ personal diet plans. Finding what’s best for your body helps keep you lean and toned. These plans may not be the biggest diet plans but shh, don’t tell anyone.

?? life!

A post shared by Candice Swanepoel (@angelcandices) on

The glamorous runway lifestyle 

Yes. The angels are gorgeous when they hit the stage after months of training, but there’s many downsides that viewers of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show don’t take into consideration when they dream about being one of the angels. For starters, the fantasy bra is extremely heavy, the average heel height is 6 inches and the wings can weigh around 25 pounds. The heaviest pair of wings weighed in at 40 pounds. So next time you’re dreaming about being an angel read up on the runway secrets that can’t be seen from the television.

Au revoir, Paris. Here’s to the most fabulous #VSFashionShow ever!!

A post shared by Victoria's Secret (@victoriassecret) on

Behind the scenes 

So what actually goes on behind the scenes? Natural beauty tips and tricks. This includes natural makeup application, natural hair and beach waves ideas and even health tricks. The day of the show the beauty tricks are loaded up and the health tricks are thrown away. All liquids, including water, are cut off. However, the year long diets and exercises are the key aspect to make the angels look the way they do on the night of the show. Next time you want to look your best and get “the look” of a Victoria’s Secret angel remember to keep it natural, stay healthy and exercise.

What’s not to ❤️ about a runway-perfect mani-pedi from @redcarpetmanicure? #VSFashionShow

A post shared by Victoria's Secret (@victoriassecret) on

The best kept secrets about Victoria’s Secret and the truth that goes on behind the magic is a newsletter by Tori Pishkula to inform supporters about the background information that goes into the success of Victoria’s Secret. Keep up monthly to gain a recap of any new, fun facts about beauty tips, the angels or the company because you never know where the angels will take the brand next. 

6 fashion trends that are only acceptable in college

Everyone has a bad day once in awhile and fashion sense is not a top priority. Unfortunately, some of these terrible clothing choices are accepted, or even normal, in a college environment. Sometimes, the weirdest trends are even praised by peers. Here’s a list of fashion trends that will make your parents cringe.

  1. Sock and sandals
    Photo by Gamma Man via Flickr

    This used to be a trend, but then people came to their senses. It’s now back. It might look dorky, but it’s easy and convenient when running to the dining hall or class.

2. Wearing a baseball cap instead of showering

Photo by cuncon via Pixabay

Some days it just makes sense to go purchase a hat instead of washing your hair. College is rough. Hats make it easier. And you know you roll up to class with the same expression on your face.

3. Leggings… with calf-high socks… and tennis shoes

Photo by Steven Depolo via Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For some reason college girls love the calf-high socks over their leggings. And the Converse or tennis shoes are convenient. This trend isn’t advised after college, but not a day goes by without seeing one person do this.

4. Slippers

Photo by didgeman via Pixabay

They’re not shoes… but sometimes they’re shoes.

5. Sweatpants at the bars

Photo by Paulding County Area Foundation via Google Images

College is the only time when it’s more acceptable to wear sweats to the bar over a suit or nice outfit. No one questions your lazy bum self. In fact, it’d be more weird if you were dressed up. Less money spent on nice outfits means more money for the bars. It’s a win-win situation for every broke college student!

6. Groutfits

Photo by Agatha Garcia via Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You shouldn’t do it. Even in college. But we all rock a groutfit here and there, so embrace it.

5 fashion styles straight men don’t understand

Don’t ask straight men for fashion advice. They just don’t get it. When you feel really good about wearing a fur coat or carrying a designer handbag, check out what straight men think about your fashion sense.

  1. Fur coat

This is what you think you look like when you wear a fur coat.

14280116698_2cd1bee3e0_h

(Flickr, Kostya Romantikov)

This is how straight men react: Why do you dress up like a fluffy animal?

englishangorarabbit

(Google Images)

  1. Leather pants

You feel strong and confident when you wear a pair of leather pants.

6420211293_d107f95f37_b

(Flickr, Outi Pyy)

Straight men say: Awesome Halloween costume.

15661281245_e3f04209e6_b

(Flickr, Annie Fischinger)

  1. High heels

You figure there is nothing sexier than a pair of super high heels.

9266705736_e9c2dec5de_z

(Flickr, See-ming Lee)

Straight men wonder when you are going to trip and fall.

108139523_b1323c4fce_o

(Flickr, Phil Kates)

  1. Smoky-eye makeup

This is what you think about your smoky-eye look.

tanit_phoenix_south_african_supermodel_and_actress_06

(Google Images)

This is what straight men think: Isn’t she a panda?

3901621923_381250c442_o

(Google Images)

  1. Attitude towards luxury

This is how you feel when you buy a designer product.

6629335105_b1e77fe5c2_b

(Flickr, CHRISTOPHER DOMBRES)

This is how straight men feel when they read the price tag.

8263183063_774f47611e_b

(Flickr, debra)

Women’s Fashion in Athens: A guide to looking good at OU while not giving a sh*t about what people think of you

HIGH SCHOOL VS. COLLEGE

Ah…high school. Strategically planning your outfits the night before a full day of school as if your life depended on it seems to have been a common occurrence among teenagers. In college, nobody gives a sh*t about what you wear. I’m telling you right now to stop stressing. If you need some helpful fashion tips, keep reading.

The following information includes the general fashion trends. Do not limit yourself to these. Wear whatever you want. Be happy, comfortable, confident, and express yourself… even if it means wearing a banana suit!

WHERE TO SHOP

Amazon Prime. As a college student, you are eligible for a free 6-month trial of Amazon Prime. This will give you free two-day shipping, access to hundreds of free movies and TV shows, and access to hundreds of playlists through Prime Music. It’s awesome. After your 6-month trial is up, you get Amazon Prime for 50% off ($40 a year, so worth it). Click here to sign up! 

Court Street. Fig Leaf and The Other Place are two of the more popular boutiques on Court Street. Some of their items can be expensive, but watch for their awesome sales! If you’re looking for some nearby OU apparel, try College Bookstore, Follett University Bookstore, or UniversiTEES.

East State Street. Did you know Athens has a mall? I use the term “mall” loosely. It consists of a couple stores like Elder-Beerman and Goody’s. These places usually have some good deals. Dunham’s Sports is also located at the mall. It’s basically Athen’s version of Dick’s Sporting Goods. They also have OU apparel there. If you need to go to a real mall, the closest one is actually in Vienna, West Virginia (about a 45 minute drive).

Explore East State some more and you’ll find a couple other gems like Rue 21. Check out the whole strip. You’ll also find SHOE Department.

 

We can’t forget Walmart. Other than underwear and socks, Walmart is good for simple clothing items like tank tops, sweat pants, or t-shirts. They also have cute, cheap OU apparel!

 

 

A NO BULLSH*T, TO THE POINT, SEASON-BY-SEASON GUIDE

The following information is subject to change due to the indecisive weather of the state of Ohio.

FALL

Leggings. Skinny jeans. Boots. Scarves. Vests. Hoodies. That’s all you need to know.

WINTER

Same as above. You may want to dress a little warmer and have a heavier jacket. Make sure you dress in layers because the classrooms can get really hot. If you want to REALLY break the “not giving a sh*t” meter,  just dress up as a winter Disney princess and lighten the mood on campus. Check out The Post’s article on this dude here.

SPRING

Spring is an interesting time in Athens. It can be 40 degrees or it can be 85 degrees. You’ll want to have some flip flops, jean shorts, rompers, comfy dresses, and tank tops. If the weather is in the “in-between phase” you can always mix and match tank tops with a pair of jeans and a light jacket. Athens can be pretty rainy too. Invest in some rain boots and a rain jacket.

FEST SEASON

You should dress obnoxiously. Everything and anything is acceptable (unless you’re naked..then the horse cops will get you). Fest season might be the only time where fanny packs are actually a fashion trend. Sports jerseys seem to be a common trend too. Make sure you wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. You should definitely consider wearing boots. Also, show your school spirit. Wearing a lot of OU apparel is another option.

SUMMER

Wear the same outfits you’d wear in the spring if it’s hot. You can throw a bikini in there too.

WHY YOU ULTIMATELY SHOULDN’T GIVE A SH*T

OU is the greatest school. Coming here was the greatest decision of my life and it should be yours too. I have never seen anyone get judged or made fun of over something they chose to wear. We are all a loving Bobcat family. Don’t over think it.

 

MEMORABLE QUOTES FROM SEASONED VETERANS

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 2.36.11 AM
Alexa Uber (sophomore), center, poses with friends. “If you like to look cute everyday, look cute everyday. If you like messy buns and sweatshirts, that works too.”
Allison Hinton fearlessly dons her fanny pack. "This isn't high school anymore so you don't need to worry about what every other girl is wearing or if you'll stand out, do whatever makes you happy!"
Allison Hinton (freshman), left, fearlessly dons her fanny pack. “This isn’t high school anymore so you don’t need to worry about what every other girl is wearing or if you’ll stand out, do whatever makes you happy!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Fox (senior) poses with a friend prior to #fest. "Just do you boo boo."
Victoria Fox (senior), left, poses with a   friend prior to #FEST. “Just do you boo boo.”  

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 2.57.56 AM
Miranda Stepka (sophomore), left, poses with her friend. “Be your own person with confidence and you’ll look good in anything.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


*Subjects freely contributed the above Instagram photos 

What to wear to feel your best during recruitment

Soon after arriving on campus the buzz of sorority recruitment will quickly catch your ear. If you’re anything like me, I had no idea what the recruitment process consisted of and had a million questions. So, to give you a little background, the recruitment process consists of four different rounds. The first round consists of the welcome days, the second is the sisterhood round, followed by philanthropy, and the final round of recruitment is preference night. All of these rounds consist of different activities and call for different outfits. What are these different outfits you may ask? Have no fear, that’s why i’m here. Picking out recruitment outfits can be a little stressful but hopefully after reading you’ll feel confident and ready to take on recruitment! Good luck!

Welcome Round:

These are the opening days of recruitment and probably the easiest to dress for. You will be given a t-shirt that everyone going through recruitment will wear and your only job is bottoms, shoes, and accessories. Below are some examples of what you can pair with the given t-shirt. Also, don’t forget that it’s okay to accessorize in your favorite jewelry!

0432_9371_534_of           hmprod (1)

These dark skinny jeans from American Eagle would be a perfect pair for any color t-shirt and they are super affordable!  Pair the jeans with a casual pair of comfortable sandals, like shown above and you will be on a fast track to a successful welcome round!

 

Sisterhood Round: This round goes a little different then welcome. During these rounds, you will go to fewer houses and also have the opportunity to showcase your style. Dress for this is categorized as cute and casual. There are many ways to go with this, make sure you dress as yourself and whatever you’re comfortable in!

_12415887 (1)_1228659850247750

Above is a outfit combo that would be perfect for the sisterhood round!. The top and jeans can both be found online at the juniors department at Nordstrom, and the shoes are from Target. If this isn’t exactly your style, below i’ll feature another outfit!

302135975_302302029498_710dynSearch

Here is another cute yet casual outfit that will be extremely comfortable to go from house to house in. The green shift dress can be found in multiple colors online at Charlotte Russe as well as the gold pendant necklace. The gladiator Steve Madden sandal available at DSW completes the look.

 

Philanthropy Night: This is a special night for the sororities, it’s a night for them to showcase the philanthropy they work hard to support. During the philanthropy round, you will go to fewer houses and are expected to dress in a cute, business casual fashion. The most popular option for this day is a dress.

 

302044057_340a13eb14ag50016464

This is a easy outfit to throw together yet still looks super cute! This long sleeve shift dress which can be found at Charlotte Russe goes perfectly with this classic black wedge found at Target. Pair this outfit with your favorite combo of ALEX AND ANI bracelets and you’re dressed for a successful philanthropy round.

600x900_12065166302020321_001

If you’re not much into heels, these flats from Charlotte Russe will easily dress up an outfit. Paired with a classic wrap dress from Tobi and silver chain from Nordstrom, this stylish combo will be a success.

Preference Night: Congratulations, you have reached the final round! During this round, you will be down to only a few sororities left. It’s a powerful evening and the last round before the ever so anticipated bid day!!! For this night you are expected to dress your best and wear a semi-formal dress.

600x900302126159_71050029390

This semi-formal outfit is everything you need for preference night. The wine colored shift dress from Tobi is stylish and the simple necklace from Charlotte Russe adds a pop. The outfit is finished with these strap sandals from target.

600x900-1302070385_03017441917

This dress from Tobi adds pattern and a pop of navy. Paired with this is a simple black flat from Target and some silver rings to add some accessories. This look comes together to look very chic and would be the perfect outfit to finish out recruitment.

 

That about sums up the outfits necessary to get through sorority recruitment. I hope you found this to be helpful and it took away some of the outfit stress. Recruitment is a fun and unforgettable time that you will always remember. Keep calm and happy recruitment!

 

 

 

A few reasons why winter fashion is the only fashion

There’s this notion that a temperate climate — a little bit of warmth here, a little bit of sun there — gives way to great fashion.

If weather allows you to wear ankle boots with a sun dress and a wool hat, you can essentially quit your otherwise normal life to become The Next Big Blogger. You broke the mold. You mixed fabric weights. You wore a beanie with shorts. Someone should pay you (or the California climate you exist in) for your unmatched genius.

Here’s the thing: That’s bullshit. A temperate climate means living in a world where you’re always too hot or too cold, and consistently making the wrong fashion choices. People that wear boots with sleeveless dresses are never truly happy — just left with a confused body temperature and no sense of time or place.

If we all wanted to be fashionable, we’d move to somewhere truly freezing. A miserable-range of freezing doesn’t allow you to make any fashion choices. You can wear a 400-pound down jacket with four pairs of leggings underneath, as long as its all a mildly attractive color, you win.

Not quite sold? Let me give you a few reasons why I’m right.

Blanket Scarves.

Via Urban Outfitters.
Via Urban Outfitters.

This is literally an excuse to wear a blanket to class and have no one judge you. You get to call this lazy excuse for an accessory “fashion.” You could swathe an infant child in it, but you instead chose to wear it around your neck. People applaud you for it. What could be better?

Down Jackets 

I’m from Michigan, where it’s unbearably cold a good portion of the year. That’s why I even know about jackets this huge and puffy. It’s necessary for life, but also a perfectly good reason to wear what would otherwise be a sleeping bag around your shoulders.

Boots with the fur

Via Bloomingdales.
Via Bloomingdales.

More than a line in a song by our generation’s songbird, Flo Rida, “boots with the fur” (let’s use Ugg boots as an example) are basically like wearing slippers all winter long. Again, one of those weird things were you get to pretend this looks good for a few months for the sake of warmth. Way better than sandals.

Mittens

‘Nuff said. These guys should be worn all year ’round. They’re the perfect excuse to not send any emails, check your phone or do any heavy lifting. You’re basically useless while wearing mittens. It’s a beautiful and rare thing.

Beanies big enough to pull over your entire head 

Bad hair days don’t exist mid-November – late Match.  Nobody can even tell if you’ve showered or not. Know why? You’re covering your entire head with a magic piece of wool that cost (hopefully) $10 at Forever 21. During the summer, you’d have to shower once or twice a day just to exit the sweat swamp you’re living in and look remotely attractive.

We all look the same

Winter weather bonds us in our misery and our affinity for clothes we actually bought from Costco just to survive. That’s so beautiful.

shopping

 

Bluetique Athens offers a positive experience to shoppers and employees

What once was an independently-owned photography shop on West State St. in Athens, is now a trendy and student-friendly boutique where fashion meets fun. Known as Bluetique, the shop opened this August and is a sight for sore eyes when it comes to the shopping market in small town Athens, Ohio.

Exposed brick and antiqued display tables mimic a New York stationed Urban Outfitters, but the Ohio University bobcat green still holds a place on the floor. After the loss of Kismet, a beloved local fashion boutique to last year’s Union St. fire, Bluetique offers Athens fashion enthusiasts a breath of fresh air with a variety of styles to explore.

Bluetique's chic atmosphere is unlike any other Athens fashion boutique.
Bluetique’s chic atmosphere is unlike any other Athens fashion boutique.

After having opened multiple other locations in college towns like Oxford, Ohio and Bowling Green, Kentucky, the owners decided it was time for Athens to become a part of the Bluetique family. “They thought Athens was a neat little town, they really liked it and they wanted to put a business here,” said Athens Bluetique Store Manager Marissa Whaley. According to Whaley, the couple of owners scoped out the perfect location in Athens for a few years before deciding to land the new store next to O’Betty’s Red Hot on West State St.

In the short time that it has been open, Athens Bluetique set itself apart from other shops around town. “It’s the perfect mix, you see every one of all ages come in,” said Jodie Gipson, Bluetique employee and OU student.  While working, Gipson has witnessed middle-aged women shopping for sweaters, and has also helped a 5-year-old pick out jewelry. Other Athens fashion boutiques are smaller in size, which tend to limit their ability to offer a variety of options. “I think we offer more of a selection,” said Gipson. “We have everything from preppy business clothes to fringy boho jackets.” Bluetique can also personalize just about anything with monogramed initials or a bobcat paw print, which is another element that makes the store unique.

Each Bluetique location is set up and run a little differently. According to Manager Whaley, based on her knowledge of the other stores, Athens Bluetique is different from the others in that it is more accessible to students. “You have to drive,” said Whaley, referring to the Lexington, Kentucky store.

It’s safe to say that all of Whaley’s employees are college students, some of whom are pursuing degrees in Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development. Both Whaley and Gipson agreed that working for Bluetique will help student employees in their future careers. Gipson is a fashion student herself, and made it clear that the workers aren’t there to solely fold clothes and operate cash registers. They are asked to collaborate with all branches of management for Bluetique as a whole. Authority figures from multiple locations within the company visit Athens on a regular basis to check on the store’s progress and talk with the Bluetique girls. “It gives them an aspect of what we do,” said Whaley.

As someone who has worked for many different retail companies including Express and Justice, Gipson made it clear that Bluetique is a great company to work for. “Everyone’s so connected,” said the OU senior, referring to the owners and their relationship with each individual Bluetique location.

Bluetique keeps up with the college students by interacting with them via social media. The company is well established on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and also has created separate Instagram and Twitter accounts for its different locations. The accounts keep followers informed of sales and provide fashion inspiration, all in hopes to shape some avid Bluetique shoppers.

Every customer who stops into Bluetique has the chance to leave appearing more glamorous than before visiting. A free pair of pearls is offered to every customer who stops by, along with free customized bottles of water to keep a serious shopper hydrated, and impressively sized candy jars for the occasional sweet tooth while snatching up a sale. Without a doubt, Athens Bluetique has something enjoyable for everyone.

 

*All photographs used in this article are property of Court Street Stories.

10 reasons to visit Athens’ newest shop: Honey Lingerie and Sex Store

Honey's walls are lined with a diverse collection of lingirie, varying in sizes, colors, and fashions.
Honey’s walls are lined with a diverse collection of lingerie, varying in sizes, colors, and fashions.

13 West Union St. of Athens, Ohio is sexier now than ever before. Honey Lingerie and Sex Store is owned  by Meredith Allan, former store manager of Kismet, a fashion boutique lost in the fire that struck West Union Street this past November. According to an article published by The Post, Allan opened the store with her boyfriend as a start to a new chapter in life, and to provide an empowering and comfortable environment for women to explore their sexual sides. These are only 10 of many reasons to stop in and experience what Honey has to offer.

1. Body Positivity

Empowering her customers and promoting body positivity is very important to Allan and her store’s image. In fact, every time a customer looks in the mirror she receives an encouraging message painted on the mirror frame  – “Hello, gorgeous!”

2. Style Variety

From vintage high-waisted lace pin-up panties to contemporary chic, Honey caters to the fashion needs of all honeybees.

3. Internationally Made Products 

Allan special orders product from all around the world to sell in her store. Just in, the best of Polish bras and lingerie.

4. Green Goddess Friendly

According to an announcement on the company’s Facebook page, Honey also provides its earth-loving customers with panties made from all organic cotton, handmade in the United States.

5. Jewelry

Nothing steps up someone’s fashion game, lingerie style or not, like accessorizing. Honey knows this far too well and has a display full of jewelry just waiting to be paired with any purchase.

6. Hooping Honeys

Honey supports other local business and the inner hula-hooper of all Honeybees by selling locally and handmade hula hoops that will accompany any outfit put together there quite nicely.

7. Wild Honey

Honey encourages all customers not to be ashamed of their inner wild honey, but to embrace it by checking out all the adventurous sex toys that are available at its location. Of course, Honey maintains a classy boutique environment by keeping the adult toys behind the wild honey partition.

8. Unique Fashion Selection

Shop Honey not only for nighttime attire, but for the little black dress every woman needs as a part of their wardrobe. Beyond the racks of corsets and lace panties are some classy fashion pieces that any woman would love to add to her closet.

9. Customer Service

It is important to Allan that women of all body types are able to shop at Honey and feel confident and sexy in anything they might purchase. With that being said, Allan is more than happy to specially order any size or design of lingerie for her customers if they can’t be found in store.

10. Comfortable and Safe Environment

Most importantly, Honey strives to be a place where women don’t have to be ashamed to shop for their sex life. Furthermore, Allan encourages women to shop for lingerie out of love for their own bodies. “It should be something that you can shop for and not feel shameful,” The Post said.

Since opening in July 2015, Honey has sparked an interest in many students and Athens locals alike, and continues to do so. Allan and her co-owner are still working on a set schedule for the hours of operation, but for now, don’t hesitate to join the honeybees Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 to 6 p.m. as well as Friday and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 8.

Honey is located at 13 West Union St. next to Uptown Grill.
Honey is located at 13 West Union St. next to Uptown Grill.