#WHYIVOTE

#WHYIVOTE | Millennial voters on why they felt more convicted than ever to embrace their civic duty this election season. A passion project brought to you by the Velvet + Vinyl team in celebration of the 2018 Midterm Election.

In an effort to inspire a greater millennial turnout at the polls, we asked the women and men of our generation why they vote. Using real people and real experiences, we were able to convey the power American citizens have in placing a ballot to hundreds of millennials.

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Photos pulled exclusively from Pinterest

Design work: Libby Bartley

24: The Year of No

Today is my birthday. Year 24 welcomes me with morning cuddles, fresh brewed coffee in an airstream, 85° weather, handwritten cards, and an overwhelming amount of text messages and Insta shoutouts full of love from some of my favorite people.

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As a writer, I feel I’m inherently wired to be reflective and arguably analytical. My astrological sign may also have a hand in eliciting these very Virgo tendencies, but nonetheless, I find I always get a little sentimental when it’s my birthday.

I learned a lot in year 23. I launched a freelance content creation business, crossed Matoma and Quinn off my concert bucket list, ran more, argued less, learned to listen and how to speak. Finished a book—shocking, I know. Traveled to LA, Nashville, Charleston and my favorite island haven in between. I discovered a half guac, half queso shell that revolutionized my love for tacos, took a liking to Jackson Browne, started integrating NYT crosswords in to my morning routine, and I learned the value of saying no.

As a self-proclaimed mood board junkie, I spend quite a bit of time perusing through Pinterest and Tumblr for photos that align with my vision for different projects. And if I’m being honest, I can’t STAND all the cliche quotes out there telling impressionable souls to live every day like it’s their last, or the cursive calligraphy life advice guiding individuals to say yes to everything.

Even admitting that makes me feel a little insensitive, arguably heartless, you could say. Who wouldn’t want to live every day with sheer bliss?! And what argument could I possibly have that supports the act of depriving oneself from a potential life-changing opportunity, or a thrilling and memorable adventure at best?

Here’s the thing.

In year 24, I’m going to be liberated enough to say no.

Saying “No thanks”, “Fuck that”, and “Absolutely not” to the things that I once felt innately obligated to say yes to. In every proclamation to the contrary, a silent confidence will echo through that stubborn, strong-headed no. I’ll forego nights out—where I’d otherwise be drinking too much and sleeping significantly less. I won't feel obligated to fill empty blocks of time with overpriced dinners and hangouts intended only to keep me company or pass the time. I’ll turn down spontaneous shopping sprees and watch less TV (although that may not hold up during NFL season), and I’ll even fall short when it comes to reconnecting with people I once cared about. I realize that initially sounds harsh, and unabashedly selfish, but the single realization driving this behavioral change is the notion that when I say no to the things that don't fill me wholly, I create room in my life to say yes to the intangible delights that rarely get the attention they deserve.

Up until recently, I failed to realize what all I was giving up as I moved through the motions of continuously saying yes. I’ve had less time to write, have rarely listened to podcasts, have not painted once in the last year, and the only time I created to sit down and be distracted by a book has been one of the two times in which I’ve been blissfully lounging beachside. As a creative, this isn’t just problematic. It’s fatal.

Titling yourself as a “creative” has become slightly overused, no question. But for me, creativity is the greatest tangible extension of my inner workings. Sure, it’s my occupation and lifeline for paying the bills, but it’s also how I alleviate and resolve my anxiety when it kicks in. It’s how I get inspired when I’m in an unproductive drought. It’s how I decompress, and, in so many facets, it’s the thing I can invest myself in for hours without realizing the volume of times that’s passed me by.

So, don’t get me wrong. I love nights out dancing and drinking with my best friends as much as I love nights in with Chinese, Friends reruns, and my grand-slam of a boyfriend. I’m not opposed to having nights fueled by a series of “Hell yes!” statements driven by impulse. But, I’m also realizing how much I love having time that’s intentionally set aside with myself in mind. It’s a discipline, really. The wave of the self-care trend highlights imagery and pretentious icons of face masks, matcha tea, overpriced bath salts, hydroflasks, and Erin Condren planners. And sometimes those minuscule belongings do translate as an opulent luxury. But there needs to be more dialogue honing in on the fact that taking care of yourself means intentionally allocating time in your schedule for the things that can’t directly demand your time. My stack of crisp white canvases won’t text me to see if I’m free to paint Tuesday night, and the early morning runs I say I want to make time for won’t expect to meet me at the nearby coffee shop at 7 a.m. sharp. These impalpable things I place value on don’t have the same authority when it comes to the blocks of time on my calendar, but they should. Which is why I’m saying no to the things that compromise the likelihood I’ll follow through on those ambiguous commitments that will only ever serve me independently.

So, here’s a little love letter to you, year 24. I’m ready for a chapter full of adventure, creativity, spontaneity and love that extends from my favorite people to my favorite parts of me. Bring it on.

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create & cultivate: highlight reel

Last weekend, Create & Cultivate hosted 1,000+ women to their home base in L.A. for the biggest (and prettiest) work party you could imagine. With empowering sessions throughout the day, curated photo ops, non-stop inspiration, practical wisdom and incredible company, the conference was truthfully a creative's dream. 

Because the planning and production was so well done, there were so many elements of C&C L.A. that were truly so special, but I have to say that the defining factor for me was the sensational women I crossed paths with. When I founded Velvet + Vinyl nearly two years ago, I inherently believed, and still do, that women build women. I whole-heartedly believe that extending love, compassion, sincere support and good energy to the women around us benefits us, too. It allows us to create relationships that are built on intent, and these connections move us all forward. 

While in L.A., I met so many other creative women and I was truly floored by their sincere kindness, imaginative souls, and steadfast ambition. In our world today, it's easy to buy in to the false belief that women need to compete with one another in order to rise above — that we need to be better or be more than we are; more creative, more engaged, more of a leader, have more followers, plan more collabs, create more content, etc. 

The C&C experience negates the art of competition and instead depicts how the potential success of creative women never has a cap. From bloggers to CEOs, creative fortresses, financial experts and women who rose to their power while on the brink of a great idea, the exposure to women who are quite literally kicking ass in the workplace was a motivating and tangible reminder that our future is merely a reflection of what we decide to create. There are opportunities for all who refuse to give up. That isn't to say that things won't ever be challenging, but every woman who spoke reinforced the truth that the only limitations we face are the ones we place on ourselves. 

If C&C ever pops up in a city near you (Austin, TX is the next destination!) I urge you to drop your plans, make shit happen and go. The weekend left me feeling wholly rejuvenated and creatively restored, and it reminded me that my success is a reflection of my own effort. Even if you're not necessarily in a creative field, it's so important for women to know their power, and to be surrounded by likeminded boss ladies who know we've hardly scratched the surface in the glass ceiling above.

Another perk of the conference? It's the most Instagrammable event you'll attend. See photos below for the highlight reel.

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 "Show up. Do the work. Don't be lazy. There's no short cut." – Kim Kardashian

"Show up. Do the work. Don't be lazy. There's no short cut." – Kim Kardashian

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 "Whatever you do, you're going to have tough days. So make you have as many great days as you can." – Lauren Conrad

"Whatever you do, you're going to have tough days. So make you have as many great days as you can." – Lauren Conrad

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 "If you surround yourself with great people, then you can achieve higher goals." – Anine Bing

"If you surround yourself with great people, then you can achieve higher goals." – Anine Bing

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 "Bringing joy, satisfaction, and leaning into your own strengths at work is so necessary." – Piera Gelardi of Refinery 29

"Bringing joy, satisfaction, and leaning into your own strengths at work is so necessary." – Piera Gelardi of Refinery 29

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 "Nothing that I've done has come without something better coming from it." – Chrissy Teigen

"Nothing that I've done has come without something better coming from it." – Chrissy Teigen

 "You should find joy in just creating and posting content, not the numbers. If you don't, then you should do something else." – Aimee Song

"You should find joy in just creating and posting content, not the numbers. If you don't, then you should do something else." – Aimee Song

relaunched: unfiltered, uncensored, unleashed

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2017 was a year that resembled small victories for women in America. Baby steps that translate as moments of triumph that we’ve been waiting for for far too long. 

From the inception of the women’s march just over a year ago to the wave of the #MeToo movement, the mission of women to band together in pursuit of justice with the #TimesUp campaign and all the other strides we’ve made in an effort to demand change, we’re leaning in to a historic conversation where the pinnacle is on the horizon.

In November, the women of Velvet + Vinyl launched a series we called, “What It Means To Be a Woman”. Through those different posts, we shared our own perceptions of what it means, or rather, how it feels, to be a woman in today’s world. With our own experiences at the root of our words, we examined some of the topics that have surfaced in the national conversation surrounding women.

We considered our role models—the women who have raised us, strengthened us and inspired us to be the best women we know how to be. We thought about androcentrism, and the empty belief that all opinions are inherently male. We talked about the inadequacies of women that are thrust upon us by society. We mused about confidence and the “rebellion” that women have brought to the table as we’ve disrupted the patriarchy with our intolerance for the way things have been for the years and years before us.

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Through all these different lenses, our voices were what empowered us to bring all of these thoughts and ideas to the surface.

From a macro view, the voices of women—from all classifications of wealth, race, sexuality, religion and more—have become more powerful than ever. Our stories, experiences and most candid convictions are augmenting change in an entirely new way.

For those of you who have followed the evolution Velvet + Vinyl, you know of our commitment to exploring our inner selves through a lens that focuses on the expression of our style, the music that resonates with our soul and the stories that inspire the depths of who we really are.

As the power of women's voices continue to disrupt the world and rewrite a story that’s been biased for so long, we began reconsider our approach at V+V. This change inspired a season of soul-searching where we identified new goals for our team and rethought the impact that we want our creative output to have on our readers and the women who make this community what it is. Much like the women who have tirelessly fought to elicit change in today’s world, our girl gang represents and embodies so many different facets of these shared struggles.

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In 2018, we hope that Velvet + Vinyl will continue to explore style, music and purposeful storytelling, but in a way that brings our unique voices forward in hopes of disrupting the surface. Because we see style as being so much more than form-fitting jeans and mascara that accentuates the colors of our eyes. Because we know that music isn’t just background noise, and because we believe the words we sing often impact us on a deeper level. Because we know that the stories that make us who we are deserve to be liberated from silence and shared with the world around us.

This is the new Velvet + Vinyl. Unfiltered, uncensored and unleashed. We’re giving the middle finger to self-doubt, fear, inadequacy, and all the other bullshit that negates our experiences as women. Through our inherent creativity and our unwavering commitment to telling stories of the modern woman, we invite you to lean in with us to rewrite something bigger, something better, and something more inspiring.

After all, who run the world?