A Custom Dress

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Coming from a family of seamstress’, I have always been conscious of the make of the clothing I purchase. I seek quality materials and am very aware of the details that make a garment fit well. Even now as I SIMPLIFY my closet, I am even pickier that the pieces I add are made to fit and to last.

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When eShakti asked me to try their customization service, I was intrigued by their approach. They allow you to shop their designs while giving you the option to customize certain parts of the piece like the length, sleeve type or neckline for a small fee. I loved the idea specifically because the simple black dress that caught my eye could now be somewhat catered to my need.

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This holiday I was in route to Panama, a country of endless summer, and therefore needed a fresh, simple piece that I could wear when out with my family. I choose a cap sleeves for the heat and decided on a conservative knee length for my height.

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I have to say was pleasantly surprised with the fit. The size was perfect for me; my family even commented that it looked tailored. But I do have to say that I have quite a bit of luck with standard sizes and I was confident about the size after double checking the eShakti measurement guide; it was right on point. The material was a light, fresh 100% cotton and the style of the dress was simple and feminine. It even has pockets! My grandmother was especially in love with the style because it reminded her of the dresses she wore back in the day, a clear sign that this dress screams classic.

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Although eShakti had a wide range of pieces, it took me a while to find something that really caught my attention (mostly because my taste has become very narrow lately.) But my choice surpassed my expectations.

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This dress was a gift from eShakti in return for my honest opinion on their customization service. If you are interested in a piece from their collection, they have given you 10% off your purchase. Just enter the discount code ‘simplychels’ in the promotional code box at check out between 1.23.15 – 2.23.15. -chels

dress | eShakti    shoes | madewell    hat | panamanian artisan

Twenty-Fifteen

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Wow this year feels so definitive. Twenty. Fifteen. This year I start off as a graduate, an architectural designer in the making, at the forefront of my career. The last two and half year I spent earning my Masters of Fine Art in Interior Architecture and Design at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. It has been a journey to say the least but one I am ever so grateful to have experienced. The people, the challenges, the projects, the professors; I cannot express how much they have shaped me as the designer I am becoming and the person I am today.

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The beginning of this year is also about rejuvenation for me. School manages to force a lot of things on hold (sleep included) and I am now ready to bring some normalcy back into my life. First by giving time to my family and friends and then by taking time to adventure and explore. Lucky for my family happens to live in the most adventurous place in my book, Panama. So that is precisely where I am, bringing in the New Year with open arms.

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With a little more time on my hands this year, I am excited to share my stories and experiences with you so I hope you stick around. My intention has always been to inspire, encourage and teach a thing or two about what I’ve learned. We are all on a journey and by sharing we grow, we discuss, we learn from one another. I’m just here to start the conversation but please join me, I love hearing from you. Hasta pronto amigos!

-chels

Give Memories Postcard Sale

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If you’ve been following up on my recent venture GIVE MEMORIES, you may have seen the postcard sets we’re selling to raise money for our MISSION and our efforts towards the Tangible Movement.

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We’ve added a new set with quotes that will inspire you and your friends + family. Go ahead pull out a pen and send over a note, giving them a bit of inspiration for the day, show them you’ve been thinking of them.

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Some of our other sets are inspired by the places that are near and dear to my heart, maybe you’ve been or maybe your dying to tell your bestie that you should plan a trip.

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If you are a photographer who loves documenting the places that inspire you, you may be interested in donating images for us to share your work and your story. Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

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Today we want to give to you. FREE SHIPPING on all orders till midnight with the code GIVE.

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Thank you for your continued support, be sure to share, pin or tweet our images so we can reach more and do more.

-chels

The Tangible Movement

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I believe in the written word as much as I believe in photographs. Our world has become so extremely digital, the tangible is disappearing. It is not integrated in our daily lives anymore but I can tell you that the tangible records of moments, friendships, thoughts are the ones I’ll never let go of.

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When I decided I wanted to give an opportunity for others to create these memories through photography ( take a look at the Give Memories launch post, ) I knew I wanted to give it’s supporters an opportunity to share their memories as well. What better way than the handwritten note, the postcard, the ones we wrote when email and chats didn’t exist.

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These notes are a product of our very own documenters, the photographers of our city. The ones who take it upon themselves to document our world, our cities, preserving the charming presence these places have in time and in our lives. They are part of our community, they are constantly committed to creating and capturing memories.

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Give Memories is committed to The Tangible Movement, where we value taking our hands off the keyboard to document tangibly with photographs and notes.

We are looking for documenters, photographers from every and all cities and places who believe in our mission and believe in the tangible. Get in touch with us, we want you to be apart of the movement, we want you to help us give memories.

-chels

Give Memories

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Hello there! It’s been awhile, I know… but for good reason. I’ve been working hard on a project that has been a dream for quite some time. I cannot believe the day has come that I get to share it with you.

My childhood, like most of yours was documented with 4×6 photographs developed from film cameras that my young parents spent their months savings on. We look at these crinkled pieces of glossy paper and piece together the nostalgic feelings of our youth. It’s irreplaceable, we feel connected to that 2 ft child with ice cream on their face as a part of who we were.  And when I lost a loved one, I sought out these photos that had documented our life together even more. All the moments that I needed to remember, all the flecks of life we had together were there to comfort me.

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When my mom was 40 she was grazing through a box of my grandmothers things when she came across an old square picture. Somewhat out of place since all the photos in her house were glossy rectangles with time stamps and kodak stretched across the back. She asked her mom in quick spanish “Who are these ugly kids?” Even before my grandmother had time to dry her hands and walk over, the roar of laughter had my mom on the floor. “That’s me!” she bursted out.

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This is the only photo my mom has of her childhood.
As she recalls to me her memory of that day she says “If it wasn’t for this stranger who was visiting, I may have never remembered what I looked like as a little girl. He had this huge strange camera and we didn’t understand what we were posing for.” 30 years later, that man’s daughter brought this photo to my grandmother.

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My dad, always joking around used to say to me “Your mom and I we’re so in love, I didn’t spend a dime on our wedding. Just $4 for the polaroid!” It was not a lie, this is the only photo of my parents wedding.

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As I became mesmerized by photography, the capturing of people and moments, I always thought about how important photos become to our lives. They start conversations, they bring people together underarms with big smiles, in front of landmarks. It’s a beautiful thing.

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I thought to myself “what if I didn’t have this?” And I thought about how easy it would have been for me not to have this, for my parents to have not valued having a camera. The truth is it is not easy for many people to have this. Many people do not have anything to remember how their children or parents looked. How their first house looked like, maybe even before it was destroyed. Many people are missing this simple connection to their lives, one that can give them strength in loss and happiness in separation.

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And so Give Memories was born. I wanted to give photos to families that could not afford to have a camera. I wanted to provide tangible moments for people who do not have computers or phones.

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And because I believe in keeping our moments alive in many different ways, I crafted this project to allow the photographic community and all people ( those who can afford cameras and those who can’t) to be apart of this cause. I wanted photographers and creatives to contribute to this by capturing their cities before they change. I want supporters to have a way to connect with their families by offering postcards taken by local photographers where in turn their support connects the families that come to our events. Our Photo Days will give families an opportunity to create moments that we’ll capture for them. As a part of this project, we are keeping these treasures a tangible part of our lives.

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Give memories is an effort to capture people and moments, to share them relentlessly and to allow these treasures to warm our hearts, give us strength, encourage us to grow.

Head over to givememories.org to familiarize yourself with our cause and support us in anyway possible. We are on INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK we’d love for you to share us with your friends and families and join us in the effort to capture moments for others with #givememories

If you are a photographer or want to see the ways you can get involved, we welcome your thoughts and talents in with open hearts and minds. CONTACT us at hello@givememories.org

Thanks for all the support!

-chels

Denim Madewell

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Denim. It’s become a staple in our wardrobe and our culture. I’ve settled for the less than perfect pair before but as I start to simplify my closet, every purchase becomes a search for quality.

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Madewell has been a go-to ever since I discovered it. Not only do they offer a student discount, their commitment to ‘made-well’ clothing has made it easy for me to invest in staple pieces for my closet. Denim is no exception. The day I walked out with their Skinny Skinny Jeans I knew I had found a perfect pair.

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These are particularly my favorite because they have the perfect about of stretch for me to bike, hits right at the ankle (for my 5’6″ height) and months later the dark wash hasn’t faded.

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Check out how others are wearing their favorite pair at #denimmadewell

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Are you a madewell fan as well? Snap a pic today in your denim for a chance to win a $1500 gift card and your pic printed with artifact uprising, a sustainable printing company aimed at bringing your images off your device and into your life. (Contest ends today!)

-chels

Simple Closets

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I believe in a simple closet. One that that inspires the start of my day and reflects who I am. I believe in quality over quantity and supporting the handmade. But I also believe in the process. The curation of a simple closet takes time, practice and patience. I’m still on the journey and I want to share it with you.

simple closets is a movement towards conscience shopping. discovering personal aesthetic. choosing to revive pieces and sharing stories. I hope to build a community. Those who are on or want to begin the process of creating a simple closet. a closet that reflects their personality and lifestyle.

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simple closets is a store. it allows a sustainable way for us to curate and create a closet with purpose. it is a way to revive our pieces by sharing their quality with others.

To join the movement, follow @simpleclosets on instagram and look out for more posts here with topics on creating a purposeful closet, simplifying and detaching, letting go and sharing. -chels

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Dreamer

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I hope you dream today. Believe in your plans and goals. Take a second to see if where you’re at is helping you get to where you want to be. I hope you have the courage to change. Make a decision today. Create a way of reaching your next step. I hope that no matter where you are, you are happy and believe in the possibilities of today and tomorrow.

I hope the best for you in every aspect of your life, today and everyday. -chels

purchase this print here

On Family

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My parents married twenty-seven years ago today; that day they started a family.

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It was a journey they never expected and it inspires me everyday. Any one person or event that happens today could affect the course of your life from here on out. It blows my mind to know that a future could be lingering around every moment and event in my day; during my commute, at the coffee house, on the corner of the street.

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Family is such a unique blend. People we choose and people inherently part of who we are. This dynamic is gift to us all, a constant test of connection between each other. The unconditional, the lost, the distant, the affectionate, the sacrificed. All distinct measures of character found within our families.

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Today I celebrate the unmeasurable sacrifices my parents have made. The genuine and adventurous journey they took. I am the reflection and culmination of all they have accomplished and I am more than lucky and blessed to be. happy anniversary. -chels

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Life Manifesto

Everyday you are presented the opportunity to change. Praise beginnings, we are in endless supply. Today is not yesterday is not tomorrow.

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I’m 24 years young. A constant learner and dreamer. A survivor of heartache and lost. An acceptor  A seeker of change. A traveler and conversationalist. A dedicated daughter and friend. An introvert and a creative. A shock absorber.

so from here. my life manifesto.

live with purpose. do with purpose.

consume knowledge. share knowledge. without hesitation.

live today. ideate today. when tomorrow is today, repeat.

evaluate opportunities, be brave enough to turn down the unfitting.

keep going. even if you are failing, keep going.

learn to let go. constantly, let go.

learn the story of your possessions. buy with support.

nothing lasts forever. don’t force it.

conduct yourself with respect. everyone deserves yours.

believe in the impossible. believe in your dream. let it scare you but not discourage you.

stay humble. constantly learn from everything and everyone. we are never experts.

make a difference every chance you get.

simplify. your thoughts, your things. constantly evaluate what’s important.

-chels

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photography mike trobiano