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The Maryland-based style pro is a consultant by day, blogger by night. By Diana Elbasha
Natalie's classic, feminine aesthetic has us visiting her site regularly. Here, she wears d'orsay flats by Betsey Johnson. Photographs courtesy of Natalie Vargas.

As saturated as Washington’s blogosphere can often seem, every once in a while, we come across a gem that completely impresses us. The latest on that list: Catalina Creative. Authored by 24-year-old Maryland native Natalie Vargas, what began as a side project (previously known as Doses of Design) to express her love for interiors has rapidly blossomed into a multifaceted lifestyle resource. In just about a year, Vargas has amassed close to 2,000 Twitter followers, her own print shop, a fashion-packed style guide, and, of course, blog posts full of sartorial and interior inspiration with a refreshingly minimalist yet elegant vibe. We chatted with the talented blogger to hear more about how her brand was born and where she gets her inspiration.

Take us through the evolution of your blog. How did it get to where it is today? 

It began as a home decor blog. I don’t think it was until late fall that I posted my first style post on a “beach chic” look. That day, I received so many comments and likes on my little blog, and I was ecstatic. From then on, I made it a point to write about more than home design. I joined Bloglovin’, created a Facebook page and a Google Plus page, tweaked my social media, and began seeking out and following lots of bloggers. Social media is your best friend in the blogosphere! This past January, I decided on a rebrand and a fresh start for a new year. My name no longer applied to what I was posting about, and I wanted to step things up, so Catalina Creative was born.

How would you describe your personal style—and what’s your favorite item in your closet?

As written in my Stylish Finds guide, “my style involves lots of neutrals, a casually chic look . . . pretty patterns and feminine lines.” I’m a fan of casual cool. I love to dress up when the occasion calls for it, but everyday life is spent in skinnies, chic flats, and a tee, silk top, or oversize sweater. In the office, I love fitted pants, heels, and a printed top for flair. Favorite item? I’m not sure I can choose just one! I finally bought my first Gigi New York clutch this year, in gray, with my initials in gold. I can’t get enough of that one. I’m also a big fan of my black skinnies and leopard pumps.

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Posted at 09:45 AM/ET, 05/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The DC-based blogger focuses on eco-friendly and sustainable clothing. By Diana Elbasha
Above, Mlinarchik wears a consigned coat and sweater and a 100 percent vegan messenger bag by Angela + Roi. Photographs via My Fair Vanity.

Short of ditching fur and leather, it may seem like there’s not much you can do fashion-wise when it comes to helping the environment. In honor of Earth Day, we’re here to tell you that’s not true—as proven by stylish local blogger Rachel Mlinarchik.

With her DC-based fashion blog, My Fair Vanity, Mlinarchik puts a refreshing spin on a medium that can often feel tedious. Her relatively minimalist, classic style, with occasional pops of pattern and edge from brands such as Clover Canyon and Alexander Wang, perfectly fits the DC vibe—and nearly every accessory, shoe, and piece of clothing featured is fair-trade, organic, handmade, USA-made, upcycled, secondhand, or vegan. Mlinarchik speaks frankly about her passion for sustainability and human rights on MFV. “All unfair or unjust parts of my posted outfits remain anonymous, so we won’t be tempted by their siren call,” she writes on the blog, in an admirable display of commitment to the cause. “I’ve been doing this for a year now, and it is much easier than I thought it would be. I very rarely purchase something that is outside of the ethics of this blog, nowadays.”

Scroll down for some of our favorite looks Mlinarchik has put together.

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Posted at 12:56 PM/ET, 04/22/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This way for stylish bloggers, cute puppies, and to-die-for shoes. By Diana Elbasha

The Old Town accessories shop Bishop Boutique is known to go all out when it comes to lookbooks—previous works have featured beautifully elaborate sets and local bloggers in place of models. This season, the store took a new approach to to its catalog by partnering with a handful of nearby businesses—retail and otherwise—to create a joint lookbook that the team has dubbed the Cobblestone Runway.

Named after Old Town’s charming, signature streets, the lookbook brings together a talented mix of local forces: Styled by SpicyCandyDC’s Carlis Sanchez and primped by the Sugar House Day Spa, Rachel of My Fair Vanity, Tammy of A Loyal Love, Wendy of Old Town Home, and Bryarly of Everything That Flickers are the stars of the book, modeling not just Bishop’s latest goods (such as bubblegum-pink pumps and bright baubles) but also those of nearby Zoe Boutique. A partnership with the Dog Park and Operation Paws for Homes brought in some cute companions, and neighboring Jackson 20, Hotel Monoco, and the Morrison House Hotel hosted the photo shoots. Take a peek at some of the book’s best shots below, and head to Bishop’s blog to see the full version.

All photographs by Susannah of Alumbra Photography.

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Posted at 01:16 PM/ET, 04/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
En route to style-packed Coachella, the blogging duo teaches us how to pull off the free-spirited look. By Diana Elbasha

The weather is warm (finally!), outdoor venues are opening, and music fans are gearing up for Sweetlife and Firefly—it’s officially festival season. Which event hosts the best musical talent is up for debate—but when it comes to fashion, the indisputable frontrunner is Coachella.

Recognized by such high-fashion authorities as VogueHarper’s Bazaar, and the Man Repeller as a hub for the best of bohemian style, the California-based festival is as much about the clothing as it is about the music, and is attended each year by countless impeccably dressed A-listers. DC-based sisters Natalie and Erika Pinto, the authors of local style blog The Fashionably Broke, are headed to this year’s star-studded event, which kicks off Friday. In preparation for the festive weekend, they’ve rounded up days’ worth of outfits that nail the breezy vibe. Read on for some of their looks and their tips for achieving the easygoing look.

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Posted at 04:44 PM/ET, 04/10/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The quirky local blogger tells us how she put together six of her stylish ensembles. By Diana Elbasha

Anyone who believes the stereotype that the Washington area lacks fashion creativity should get to know Nife Oluwole. The cheery, Maryland-based blogger behind SkinnyHipster boasts a signature style of vibrant hues, busy patterns, and out-there combinations that makes her one of the most flawlessly dressed—and eye-catching—women walking around DC.

That’s why we turned to her for help in mastering a tricky trend: mixing prints. She’s proven time and again that she nails the perfect balance; we pulled together six of our favorite examples and asked her to explain how she put together each look.

Captions run left to right. 

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Posted at 02:48 PM/ET, 03/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Five local style bloggers show us how to pull off the tricky but beautiful piece. By Diana Elbasha

Spotted last year on daring street style stars such as Blaire Eadie and Leandra Medine, the full midi skirt has now evolved into a full-fledged trend. These voluminous pieces, with hemlines that stop mid-calf, may seem intimidating but truly can flatter all body types and styles—as long as they’re paired with the right top and accessories. Below, local style bloggers teach us five ways to style the feminine, flirty skirts.

TammyA Loyal Love

 

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Posted at 12:00 PM/ET, 03/04/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The local beauty pro dishes on her new line and her all-time product faves. By Michelle Thomas

Kitiya King boasts a long list of titles. She’s a chemist. A cosmetologist. An aesthetician. A beauty blogger. And now she’s an entrepreneur. The local beauty wiz’s new “5-free” (which means the formula doesn’t contain formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, formaldehyde resin, or camphor) nail polish line launches on Friday with a collection of seven hues inspired by the glitz of Fashion Week and ranging from bold, glittery gold and bright red to more understated colors such as midnight blue and khaki. We chatted with King about Mischo Beauty and her must-have beauty products.

Photograph courtesy of Mischo Beauty.

How did Mischo Beauty come to be?

I’m a chemist and cosmetologist, and have always wanted to blend both worlds. When I was pregnant with my son, I was really careful with the products I was using and what I was eating, and actually didn’t polish my nails for the first six months of my pregnancy because of all the harmful toxins found in nail polish. I eventually started using polishes that were 5-free but found the formula didn’t go on smoothly, or they weren’t durable. After giving birth to my son, I decided it was time to mix my science and beauty backgrounds to create a 5-free nail polish that was durable while still being nontoxic.

What makes Mischo Beauty different from other lines?

Mischo Beauty is different from other lines because not only is it healthy, but it’s also functional. There aren’t many 5-free nail polish brands on the market, and the ones that are aren’t long-lasting. Mischo luxury nail lacquers are chip-resistant and won’t affect your health.

Tell us about the process and development of the line.

I created the formulas to make sure they were indeed 5-free, which was the most difficult part, and worked hard to make sure every single color in the collection was flawless. I tested the product for a year to make sure the nail polish was something I would be in love with and would use myself—and I absolutely love the result.

What’s next for Mischo Beauty?

After the launch of the Fashion Week collection for fall 2013, we will launch our Icons collection of the Mischo luxury nail lacquer in spring 2013, followed by our line of color cosmetics—lipstick, lip gloss, blush—in fall 2014.

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Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 10/30/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Fashion’s Night Out may be canceled, but Georgetown’s first-ever FAD (Fashion + Art + Design) event promises three days of creative fun. By Diana Elbasha
FAD (Fashion + Art + Design) brings an array of fashion- and art-related events to Georgetown this weekend. Photograph courtesy of Georgetown BID.

Early this year the Council of Fashion Designers of America indefinitely canceled Fashion’s Night Out, the annual block-party-like event that brought stores, salons, and designers together for a weekend of fashion events. The event, which originated in New York and was organized in partnership with Vogue, was nixed nationwide, much to the dismay of fashion-addicted Washingtonians who viewed FNO as a way to come together with their creative peers (and shop, obviously). Thankfully, the Georgetown Business Improvement District stepped up to the plate, and has organized an entire FNO-like weekend full of soirees and shows—including major sales at local shops, something the original event often lacked. The three-day event, dubbed FAD (short for Fashion + Art + Design) is poised to be an impressive replacement for its reputable predecessor. Here are six reasons to check it out.

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Posted at 02:55 PM/ET, 10/08/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Casie Mace of WhippedStyle shows us three stylish ways to wear the cozy fall staple. By Diana Elbasha
Casie Mace styles this simple, oversize knit for work, play, and relaxation. Photograph by Melanie Yu.

With our seemingly ever-shrinking budgets in this city, we’re always looking for ways to save when it comes to our wardrobe. Stylists say the best way to do so is to invest in high-quality, versatile pieces you can incorporate into multiple outfits and keep for years—but the advice isn’t always easy to follow. Luckily, we have such neighbors as Casie Mace of WhippedStyle in our ’hood to convince us otherwise. Below, the blogger shows us how to wear one of our favorite fall-to-winter staples—a solid, oversize sweater (in this case, it’s Topshop’s knitted tulip-stitch jumper)—for work, play, and relaxation. Nordstrom, here we come. . .

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Posted at 02:55 PM/ET, 09/26/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
What Washington's top style bloggers wore, where they went, and who they saw during the glamourous week. By Diana Elbasha
Krystin Hargrove of Be Loud Be You poses for street photographers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photograph by Trisha Penn via BeLoudBeYou.com.

Posted at 03:55 PM/ET, 09/12/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()