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When I asked Kent Worthington to let me take a look inside his NYFW gear bag and tell me how he gets kitted out to support our Women’s team with their exclusive backstage reports, I wasn’t expecting him to say this: “I like to build a little shrine in my hotel room using some spiritual earth elements to ground, support and bring me energy during the week.”

Naturally, I needed to know more.

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January 16, 2015

Listen Up! DJ Diamond Kuts

‘Twas the season to indulge, friends, but now ‘tis the season to atone. Throughout the month of January, we’ll be bringing you all sorts of Wellness Realness—information and inspiration you can use to get out of lax mode and into good-for-you mode. Or at least stop eating cookies for lunch and skipping your morning run.

Don’t take our word for it, go ahead and ask Nicki Minaj or President Barack Obama–they’ll tell you DJ Diamond Kuts rules. Philly native Tina Dunham has rocked huge crowds on the Obama campaign trail and helped break Minaj in her early mixtape days, eventually producing original music for the superstar rapper.

More impressive to us, though, are Diamond’s regular radio mixes on hip-hop and R&B station Power 99 FM, each one a furious dispatch with flawless between-song cutting (hence the name). While her mixes come in many modes–hip-hop, reggae, R&B–her dance mixes are arguably her most exciting work and perfect workout soundtracks.

We caught up with Ms. Kuts on the phone and talked about exercise, the art of deejaying and things to eat in Philly which are not cheesesteaks (no disrespect to cheesesteaks).

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L-R: “Lance’s mom” (Gretchen Corbett), “Lance’s mom’s boyfriend” (Justin Long), “Lance” (Carrie Brownstein) and “Nina” (Fred Armisen); image courtesy Portlandia from “The Fiancée” episode 

As a business which started in the #upperleft corner of these United States, we at Nordstrom have a special appreciation for IFC’s Portlandia. That would be the sketch comedy TV show where stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein basically teach a master class in how to mock life in Portland, OR. It’s all there: the passive-aggressiveness, the self-righteous savior complex, the questionable style choices. And yet the show, currently in its fifth season, is a love letter.

“The Fiancée” episode aired Thursday, Jan. 15, and was partially filmed at the Lloyd Center Nordstrom. (That location is now closed, with every employee who wished to be relocated given a new home at a nearby Nordstrom.) Key scenes in the episode occur at Nordstrom and feature Armisen’s character Nina, with makeup done by Jessica Needham and overall style created by her sister, two-time Emmy winner Amanda Needham.

We spoke with the sisters while the two native Portlanders sat in their car in deadlocked traffic. Topics discussed: Nina, Portlandia and good versus bad style.

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’Twas the season to indulge, friends, but now ’tis the season to atone. Throughout the month of January, we’ll be bringing you all sorts of Wellness Realness—information and inspiration you can use to get out of lax mode and into good-for-you mode. Or, at least stop, eating cookies for lunch and skipping your morning run.

Just coming clean here: We’re not exactly ready to start working out yet, but we would like to think about working out while laying on the couch for just a little while longer. And ideally, the thinking we’d like to do on the topic of working out would really be creative thinking. Like, what can we do that counts as working out but isn’t exactly working out? Call it six degrees of separation from actual exercise, but right now, rollerskating sounds a lot better than running laps. Here are ten movies that might just put these sweats we’ve been wearing to actual use … someday.

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The Nordstrom blogs team has been poking around the vaults for a while now; hopefully you’ve been digging the Throwback Thursday series, and hopefully you won’t mind this special—and early—holiday edition.

The thing is: while thumbing through our 1975 ‘Gift Selector,’ it really hit us. There are things in there that we’d still actually dig unwrapping ourselves and giving to others for the holidays. In fact, it was a pretty hard list to narrow down, but here are the top 15 gifts we’re vibing on for friends and family, guys and gals; ironic, iconic and otherwise.

1. These oversized sunglasses and some versatile silk scarvesso many ways to wear them.

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December 23, 2014

Gifted Giver: Lord Quas

We’ve been counting down the crucial pre-Christmas shopping days with a series called Gifted Givers, but in this, the final chapter, we’ve gone a little rogue…

Through a spiritual medium in Los Angeles, we reached out to Quasimoto, a dirtbag, deadbeat, bad-guy rapper from the fictional city of Lost Gates, CA. The city is fictional but trust us, the rapper himself is real enough that there’s an NPR story on him. We wouldn’t normally seek the advice of such a low-down character, except for the fact that there’s some real genius and an utterly unique style to his music—the kind that makes Erykah Badu and Kanye West collaborators and fans.

Turns out Lord Quas was in a gift-giving mood for the holiday season, albeit mostly giving to himself. (And yeah, not quite giving enough that he could follow our customary Gifted Giver format.)

Seen here at his most festive, he cheers the world while drinking from the Das Horn Drinking Horn he gave himself and wearing a couple new Lego Brick Watches. They don’t really come in purple, but he wishes they did. Generously, he bought his homeboys Freddie Gibbs and Madlib each an oversized stuffed zebra from Melissa & Doug to celebrate their album Piñata. Quas also picked out Power Mama Maternity Panties and a Chiffon Short Robe by Naked Princess for his girlfriends. Things got real.

Illustration by Jeff Jank

SHOP: Holiday Gifts for Guys

–Andrew Matson

Swedish-born designer Johan Lindeberg took a bonafide life crisis that would send lesser men into a rock-bottom bender, absorbed its impact, and redirected its power into something positive: He founded BLK DNM, a clothing brand with New York City in its veins and dirt under its nails that, being the culmination of Lindeberg’s years of industry experience, feels like a time-tested authority for best-in-class leather jackets, despite its mere four years on Earth.

Keep reading to hear how he did it, how he bled in a castle, how he’s anti-punk, how jeans are like wine, and why he’s a fan of Hillary Clinton.

(Did we mention he also started taking photos only four years ago, and now spends his spare time photographing women like Gisele Bündchen, Kenza Fourati, Anja Rubik and Arizona Muse? Click through to see our favorites from Lindeberg’s rapidly growing photo oeuvre, too.)

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Laura Mercier

Hopefully you’ve found the holiday gift-giving inspiration from your brethren to be of good use. Might you also find complementary holiday insight from some of our favorite women to be of value? We hope so—especially as this set of ladies counts among its ranks (above): street style photographer Crystal Nicodemus, beauty guru Laura Mercier, and photographer Carmen Daneshmandi.

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In this new series, we talk to artists and designers about their most personal works and the projects that are closest to their hearts.

How does an aspiring fashion photographer who shoots Santa photos at Nordstrom transition to award-winning fine art photographer in just five years? For Santa Fe–based Zoe Marieh Urness, the journey has been a storied one. Since April of this year, Urness, who is Tlingit and Cherokee, has been traveling the western United States, shooting the ceremonies, dances and regalia of Native Americans for her ambitious photo series, Native Americans: Keeping the Traditions Alive. Using her art to help preserve the traditions of indigenous people, she produces photos that serve to connect the old ways to the modern-day realities of the Native world.

The importance of passing on tradition through storytelling, dance and song is deeply ingrained in Native American life, and Urness has managed to not only participate in this sacred heritage in a stylish and contemporary manner, but through her diligent documentation is sharing the ways of those whom she honors with a wider audience. Gaining traction largely through word of mouth, the series has grown organically and exponentially as one subject leads Urness to the next, and what began as a solitary endeavor has blossomed into a communal effort, unconstrained by tribe or borders.

We spoke with Urness about Keeping the Traditions Alive to get a deeper sense of the adventures she’s encountered, as well as how this endeavor has impacted her personally.

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Fashion Week is a myth. Well, maybe more like a misnomer. While the seasonal proceedings in each global metropolis (New York, London, Milan, Paris) last approximately seven days, the cumulative tour spans more like a month.

Which is to say that Nordstrom’s traveling trend spotter, Crystal Nicodemus, is practically a decathlete. Amidst days on end spent fighting jet lag and jogging between the venues of every major women’s runway show, she still scores shot after killer shot of the world’s best dressed.

Keep reading for additional highlights from Crystal’s social anthropology of the female of the species in London and Milan (as observed on our sister blog, The Thread)—blue-haired mermaids, stiletto-clad cyclists and all.

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