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    Pretty Fun Blogger: Ali Stone of Those White Walls

    Over the past several months, we've gotten to work with some pretty amazing bloggers in the Chicago area who rule the blog game AND also know how to rock a camera. And thankfully for us, that makes them just about the best models to rock our pretty fun things too! Ali Stone, the babe behind Those White Walls, is certainly no exception. Not only did we get to shoot with Ali, but her boyfriend, Oren, was our main man behind the camera shooting the looks. A photog/blogger dream team? We'd say so. 

    Let's get to know Ali a little better, shall we? 

    1. Tell us a little about yourself.

    My name is Ali Stone! I'm 24 years old and live in Chicago with my boyfriend, Oren and our two dogs; Nike and Obi. Day to day I work as a freelance photographer shooting portraiture and lifestyle work. Aside from that, I write my blog, Those White Walls and design a jewelry line with my Mom called, Just The 2 Of Us Jewelry. I grew up in Madison Wisconsin and moved to Chicago originally to attend Columbia College and Study Photography. I have a weakness for a good pair of high waisted jeans, chai tea lattes and Hood River, Oregon.

    2. When did you start blogging and what made you want to start a blog?

    I started blogging just over 3 years ago. I had always wanted to write a blog because I was such a fan of reading others. But, I never knew what to write about. I moved 3 summers ago to New York for an internship at Harper's Bazaar and thought that it was the perfect opportunity to start a blog. Originally, I wrote about my journey that summer, things to do and see in NYC etc.

    3. What’s the meaning behind the name of your blog, Those White Walls?

    Those White Walls is my way of saying that we all start as "white walls" or a blank slates. From there, we can choose who we want to be, what we want to do, what we want to wear, listen to, travel to, everything really. It's my way of sharing who I am and what I love with anyone who's kind enough to want to follow along.

    4. Love that! How has your style and blog evolved since starting your blog journey?

    My style has always been fairly simple. I like to find classic pieces that I won't get sick of year after year. I try my best to share with my readers how to build many outfit options off of a fairly simple base. My blog on the other hand has evolved quite a bit. When I first started it I documented everything, it didn't really have one certain focus. Since I started the blog, I have narrowed it down mostly to fashion, lifestyle and a little but of beauty.

    5. You’re a freelance photographer and photography is a big deal for a fashion/lifestyle blogger. What’s your go-to camera and lens for capturing your favorite shots?

    I shoot on a Canon 5d Mark III. I generally shoot on a 50mm lens, a 24-70mm or a 70-200mm.

    5. What’s a pretty fun fall trend you’re embracing this year? 

    I am completely obsessed with velvet and mules for fall!

    6. Favorite social media outlet? Your social media handles? 

    Instagram is definitely my favorite! I am a photographer so I'm all about the visuals!

    Instagram: @alialistone

    Snapchat: @alialistone

    Pinterest: Those White Walls

    Facebook: Those White Walls

    7. Favorite Alice & Wonder piece of the new collection? 

    I love the Blake Knit Fringe Tank! I've been wearing it everywhere! 

    ...And guys, could Obi be any cuter?

    xoxo, 

    Alice & Wonder Summer 2016 Lookbook

    The summer collection is here and I can't tell you how excited I am for its debut! 

    The idea for fresh and fun photoshoot came about after Amy Vorel of Vo Jewelry and I were talking about all the new summer pieces we had for each of our shops. Amy's not only revamping her website but a couple pieces from her new collection (hello tassels!) are on our site, so it seemed like the perfect fit to combine forces. 

    While the idea started small, the day turned into one of the most epic (and fun!) photo sessions that I've been a part of. When I started Alice & Wonder 6 months ago, our shoots consisted of my husband and me walking down streets by our condo to snap pictures of outfits before inevitably both getting too cold and running back to our place to seek shelter. But this - oh boy guys, this was entirely different!

    One of the best things I've discovered about becoming an entrepreneur is the community you share when you find other like-minded business owners. It's a crazy thing, but there actually are people out there that love building businesses - whether it be their own or extending their knowledge to help newcomers like me. And I absolutely love that! Case in point, my amazingly talented friend Meredith who owns Canary Lane, the loft space/design empire where our shoot was hosted. Meredith curates home pieces from furniture to rugs and will even design custom pieces. It's evident from the pictures her space gives us major #colorgoals. I met Meredith during a social media class that was hosted at her loft and instantly knew this was a girl I've love to learn from. The moment I reached out to ask about the space, she not only came back with resounding 'yes' but also threw in the talents of Megan at Hollibeauty (aka the queen of braids) and Jackie at Jacqueline Gamache Beauty to doll our models up. Combine those three with our photographer extraordinaire at Jennifer Clare Photography and I knew were in business. 

    Our day started with a gallon of coffee, 12 donuts and a couple mimosas for good measure and ended 6 hours later with what I'm so happy to share below! The pieces we've curated are made to stand out and beg for sunny days ahead. They also cumulate weeks of hard work and months of growth for Alice & Wonder. A proud girl boss moment to say the least! 

    More picture to come and we'll be adding pieces to the collection throughout the summer months. Absolutely cannot wait for what is ahead! 

    Photography: Jennifer Clare Photography l Studio Space: Canary Lane l Hair: Hollibeauty l Makeup: Jacqueline Gamache l Jewelry: Vo Jewelry l Models (in order of apparence): Hana Link, Kim Sgarlata, Megan Armington, Amy Vorel 

    XOXO, 

    Alice 

    The Making of Alice & Wonder

    Hello, you Pretty Fun Things! 

    In sharing this big news with family and friends, I've noticed I get asked the basic W's a lot: What? (like seriously, what?) Why? (you left your salaried job? huh?) When? (when did this happen?) Where? (but where do you even start?). And there’s that pesky H people also ask: How? (how on earth will you do it?).

    For the W’s, I’ll give the short version of what’s been a long story for me.

    It was December 31, 2014, and my Husband Brian and I were out with close friends, honoring one of my favorite traditions: exchanging New Years resolutions. In my mind, it’s literally the only night of the year where you can say any pie-in-the-sky goal and your friends will still propose a toast and likely not hold you to it come January 1. Because that’s what friends are for.

    As a precursor, I’ve always thought that opening a store would be the ultimate dream job. I was the girl who moved to Chicago immediately after college and opted to live in a three-bedroom apartment with four girls so we could save money…and then spend said saved money on clothes. Living in one of the best city’s for shopping, I was always shocked to find many of the boutiques in the area carried such expensive stuff. How does the 22-year-old intern living in Wrigleyville afford rent AND a $300 sweater? It’s been a question that has lingered for me for a while. Even at 29, after doing my thing in the real world for quite some time, I still found myself thinking about it. And for those that don’t know my husband, he is a true entrepreneur at heart. One of those guys that, on a good week, thinks of three to four new business ideas from solving a simple life problem to improving a worn-out system to tapping an untapped market. While I've always been encouraged by the fact that he's currently living his "dream job", he has never failed to encourage me to follow mine. 

    So on December 31, 2014, I swiftly gave Brian the “let’s do this” look and declared to our friends that in 2015 I would start a business. I didn’t know any of the W’s. Or the H for that matter. But hey, I had a year right?

    I wish I could say that on January 1 Brian and I started putting pen to paper. In reality, by morning we had already decided the best place to start would be to purchase the P90X workout program and every accessory to go along with it. I think the conversation went something like "we'll get in great shape and THEN we'll figure out this business thing." Smart. Really smart. Three weeks later, that dream had sailed along with $300 of my Christmas cash. 

    Also at the beginning of this year, my previous job doing health care PR presented an opportunity to work on a consumer piece of business and I jumped at the challenge. I had been in health care for my entire career and was ready to try something new. Little did I know accepting the new role would catapult me into an 8-month season of long work hours, tremendous learning and surprising growth. All of which I'm thankful for looking back. I'm a big believer in the power of God's timing (future post dedicated to that topic to come!) but during this season it became clear to me that even though in some respects I was doing my "dream job" in the PR world, I was still being pulled another direction. After a ton of contemplation, prayers and support from family and friends, I decided to leave my agency in August in search of the other "dream job" I had always been too scared to go after. 

    Which brings me to the here and now. And also to the “where do you even start?” question. Leaving my agency life and the security blanket of a full time job was actually tougher than I had imagined. So after taking that big leap, I had assumed that everything else would naturally fall into place. Isn’t that how it goes in the movies? You have an epic dream and then wake up in morning, clear on every step you need to take next? The world is yours! You own it! Carpe that Diem! I learned quickly that isn't exactly how it goes.

    Instead, I dove in where I could. I sought out advice from people, some practically strangers, who are in the same profession. My Mom and I traveled to markets, put on the name badges and acted like we knew what we were doing. I read the entrepreneur sub-reddit daily. Then I read the entrepreneur sub-reddit twice daily. I muddled over the name. I muddled over online versus brick and mortar.  I asked that amazing entrepreneur-minded husband of mine for help time and time again. And even though I didn’t wake up instantly knowing the next step, all of it formed into what I'm proud to say is Alice & Wonder is today. What you’ll be able to see come November 17th!

    As for the pesky H, I hope to share the 'how' with all of you throughout the process, as I’ve come to appreciate entrepreneurs that grow and fall and learn and share those learnings with hopefuls like me. I fully support the High School Musical “We’re All in this Together” approach, so my vow is to be open and honest with all of you as my journey continues.

    I can’t wait to show you what’s to come! Cheers to (every once in a while) keeping those New Year’s resolutions. :)

    XOXO,

     

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