Tamala Ayres

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Managing Vibes, Raspberry Rompers and the Best Songs to Play at a Wedding | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer, makeup artist and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Meet Jojo: super smart and super cool, she’s a mother of two who met her husband in the local hip-hop scene. Turning their love of the culture and music into a business, they founded Bamboo Beats—a wedding and events DJ service that’s dedicated to mastering the art of DJing. They must be doing it right since Bamboo Beats was just named Best Reception DJ for 2016 by Seattle Bride Magazine. Congrats, you guys!

We met up with Jojo at one of her event-space haunts, the funky Fremont Foundry, and got right down to hanging out and trying on a handful of our party dresses. Read on to learn more about Jojo’s style, her favorite wedding songs to play right now and our favorite styles from the day.

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On work and play: I own a well-known wedding DJ service with my husband, Isaac, called Bamboo Beats! We started our business in 2005, shortly after we planned our own wedding. Isaac is the DJ and I am the self-proclaimed “Vibe Manager.” Basically, I handle all the bookings, marketing, social media and customer service. For fun, we have a great time keeping up with our two sons who are 3 and 6 years old. They keep us busy with playtime, swimming and lots of excursions. When I have a chance, I love catching artists at Jazz Alley or the Triple Door.

SEE ALL OUR FAVORITE LOOKS FROM OUR DAY WITH JOJO

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NYC, Flamenco Dancing, Skateboards and Summer Dresses | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer, makeup artist and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Summer dresses at Nordstrom.

Summer dresses at Nordstrom.This month we packed up our dresses and headed to New York City to hang out with the incomparable Angela Sumner. Confident, smart and full of a million and one ideas, it’s no wonder why Angela is a video director at Refinery29. You may be familiar with one of her many projects, Short Cuts by R29—a megapopular video series made up of forever helpful beauty tips and how-tos. Playful and always up for an adventure, Angela let us into her West Village apartment (and closet!).

Angela’s wardrobe totally reflects who she is: fast thinking, sassy, quirky, playful and a go-getter with a no-nonsense approach to life. And let’s just say she’s not basic. Her wardrobe is chock-a-block full of wonderful, well-curated items—an amazing collection of shoes (think Gucci, Wang, Choo), vibrant printed outerwear, classic menswear-inspired jackets, tailored pieces and beautiful heirloom jewelry from her grandma.

Our stylist Tamala put together five outfits ready for anything a New York summer has in store. It was easy to work with Angela to find those key pieces that kept her looks minimal, but true to who she is.

SEE OUR ENTIRE SHOOT WITH ANGELA AND MORE SUMMER DRESSES

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Yoga, Star Wars Leggings and Ready-for-Anything Springtime Dresses | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer, makeup artist and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Dresses for spring from Nordstrom.

Meet Cheyenne: easygoing and sincere with a sharp sense of humor and an enthusiasm for trying new things—like spending the day letting us get her into a whole rack of clothes. Fierce when it comes to friends and family (and fun), Cheyenne is a yoga instructor, single mom—the coolest mom—and exactly the type of woman you want at your girls’ night.

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you know that you tend to leave feeling pretty calm, a little more centered and like you’ve even had fun doing something that was good for you. That’s pretty much how it felt after spending the day with Cheyenne. Her bright energy was the perfect foil for our any-occasion-ready spring dresses.

Spring dress styling ideas from casual to cocktail, at Nordstrom.
MAXI DRESSES
Orange leather moto jacket and envelope clutch from Nordstrom.

On work and play: I’ve been working as a full-time caregiver to an awesome 95-year-old woman for six years. I also teach Yoga Sculpt and Advanced Yoga at CorePower Yoga. Come check me out!

Mostly, I would describe my time off the clock as a quiet night in watching a movie and cooking. But I’ve started to make a bucket list of ways to experience the city, even though I’m a Seattle native. I also like traveling around town with my son looking for new places to eat, finding time in my crazy schedule for family and friends, yoga and riding my bike (Purple Beast).

I also probably spend too much time figuring out ways to make something not so healthy sound healthy to myself. Like, dark chocolate–covered almonds: almonds have good protein and dark chocolate has antioxidants. There! Sounds healthy … right?!

Adelyn Rae chiffon maxi dress | IRO moto jacket | Steve Madden sandals | gorjana midi rings

Orange envelope clutch from Nordstrom.

Spring dress styling ideas from casual to cocktail, at Nordstrom.

SEE HOW WE STYLE SPRINGTIME DRESSES FOR EVERY OCCASION AND MORE ABOUT CHEYENNE

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Beer, Hard Cider, Spring Dresses and a Little Foosball with Caitlin Braam | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

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This photo pretty much sums up our day with the lovely Caitlin Braam—a lot of laughing and having a good time around a brewery. But it wasn’t just some random brewery. Those industrial tanks behind Caitlin are an everyday sight for her, since she has to walk past them to get to her office at Two Beers Brewing Co. & Seattle Cider Company. For the past five years, this woman who defies convention has been developing the business and marketing plan for a successful Seattle brewery and cidery. And as of this week, she’s officially been promoted to be the president of both companies. Congrats, Caitlin!

But there’s much more to Caitlin than being an impeccable brand ambassador and consummate host to our crew for this photo shoot. This ex–TV reporter is a Foosball lover, mountain climber, DIY-er, flirty fit-and-flare dress lover and one of the most down-to-earth presidents on the planet. Read on for more about Caitlin and her style, some beautiful spring outfit inspiration and a couple recipes she loves for hard cider cocktails. Cheers!

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A day in the life: “Honestly, there is no ‘normal’ day, and that’s the way I like it. Depending on the day/the time of year, I may be traveling for the launch of a new state selling our products, pouring at a local beer or cider event or giving a tour at our tasting room, The Woods. There’s plenty of email and computer time thrown into the mix, but there’s never a day where I just sit at my desk.

“I thrive on diversity, and the chance to have people taste our products and learn more about our companies. It’s fun, and I think it’s rare to love your job as much as I do. As far as the ideal weekend, I’d spend half outdoors, hiking with my husband and dog, and the other half on a home renovation project. A pair of hiking boots one day, and a nail gun the other, and I’m set.”

SEE OUR PHOTOSHOOT WITH CAITLIN

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New Year’s Eve Dresses | The Realest

 Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

For this month’s installment, we met up with the wonderful Ribicca Mamuye. This Ethiopian-born lifestyle blogger (Abyssinia) and recent business school grad loves fashion, world travel and exploring local cuisines. We popped the cork on a bottle of champagne at a beautiful home in Portage Bay, had a mini dance party to some Diana Ross and generally partied like it was already 2016. At the end of our shoot, it was clear that this smart, ambitious young woman is on her way to great things in the new year and beyond.

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New Year's Eve Dresses from Nordstrom.

On her style: “Describing my style is one of the hardest things for me to do. I do not like putting myself in a box since I like to continually elevate my style. If I had to choose, I would say my style is a mixture of trendy and sophisticated. I am a huge fan of prints thus my closet has a lot of personality. However, I also have days where I want to wear monochrome greys and nudes.”

On dressing for a party: “It depends on the season. During spring and summer the process is much easier since it’s not a must to have a layering piece. Fall and winter can be a little tricky since you have to find a happy medium between warm and sexy.

“For me, it always starts with the shoes. Once I pick out the shoes, I decide on the rest of my outfit—keeping in mind the occasion. Necklaces and bracelets are my go-to accessories, so I always add them as a third piece. I stick to studs when it comes to earrings since large ones overpower my outfit when my hair is in its natural state. I keep my makeup light for the most part but I like to wear bold, matte lip stains.”

SEE OUR PHOTOSHOOT WITH RIBICCA AND MORE NEW YEAR’S EVE DRESSES >

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Fall’s Best Dresses | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot. Meet Lori Ramon, a banker-slash-singer and vintage-fashion lover with a stellar smile.

Lori took us on a tour of some beloved places in her Seattle neighborhood, Capitol Hill. Read on to get to know Lori, and see our stylist suggestions for some of our favorite dress silhouettes for fall.

COZY CHIC – Sweater Dresses
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sweater dresses

On her style: “Being a Jewish American Princess from Texas, I learned at an early age what it felt like to be an outsider. The fact that my mother was probably also one of the only brazen feminists in our suburban neighborhood probably added to that as well. I do think that my being so ‘different’ from everyone from the start definitely influenced my sense of self and fashion. I discovered that I enjoyed being somewhat unusual. It was freeing to be able to express myself without worrying so much about what others thought. I just try to remember the Golden Rule. Basically that’s all any of us need to do to live in a civilized society, right?

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Wedding-Guest Dresses | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? We decided each month we’d find a “real woman”–i.e., of all shapes and sizes–and give her the model treatment. In this new feature, we bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and blog editor–she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style–and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot. Meet this month’s featured guest, Kathy Loyola–a new mom who balances a busy work schedule as a content publisher at Microsoft while she and her husband raise their 13-month-old, Lexi, at home. As a petite woman who stands at 5′ 3″ (and a half!), Kathy sometimes feels frustrated not knowing how clothes seen online will look once they’re actually on her.

That’s where we step in, outfitting her in guest-of-wedding dresses to inspire looks that take the stress out of that moment just after that invitation is received. What to wear? What to wear! Read on to get to know Kathy, and see our stylist suggestions for the perfect dress (hint: it’s all about rich, beautiful color) and accessories–no matter the occasion.

MIDNIGHT SHIMMER – Evening Wedding

Wedding Guest Dress Inspiration--Evening Shimmer.Adrianna Papell sequin mesh dress

Wedding Guest Dress Inspiration--Evening Shimmer.

Stuart Weitzman ankle strap sandal | Minaudieres | Stackable rings | Crawler earrings

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On dressing for weddings: “I love that you can really dress to the nines for a wedding! For events like this, my philosophy is that it’s always better to overdress than under.

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