Rochester is a #Roc: Let Your Light Shine.

{ (585) Nov/Dec Launch Party last week at Cure. … We all know photography is not my forte. }





(585) MAG




{ Killer week last week. Down-in-the-dumps this week. Sometimes, that’s just how it goes. And it’s all the more reason to remind us that our city is a #ROC that #ROCs–and no, I’ll never tire from using that pun. }

It’s no secret that this year has been rough. Even if you don’t read statuses about my health on Facebook + visit my Tumblr Mind Barbara Soul … chances are … you know. { Thing is – you actually have no idea. }

remember winter last year?

It wouldn’t let up. Even when we believed to be in the clear. … My year has been that. I’m happy to report that:

just as winter approaches, I can finally feel the hard shell of life cracking + thawing!

I’m even happier that our Rochester Community is exactly what allows this very light to grow.

 my { last } week wrap-up

  1. Rochester Brainery. I’m teaching! Thursday, December 4 from 6:30-8. Career Seekers + Switchers … this one’s for you.
    • I have all the insider intel, the tips + tricks, the personal experience, + the expertise.
    • Career Advising is such a passion of mine. I cannot wait to share the empowering strategies?
    • I actually cannot remember what Rochester was like with The Brainery. I am honored to teach at Rochester Brainery, a mainstay in this community.
    • {Sign-up Here.}
  2. Flower City Fashionista. I’m collaborating! Jenny Sanzo is a lady boss. I’m not even sure she knows how she gets it done.
  3. (585) Magazine. I’m freelancing! I am also now published in (585) Magazine’s Nov/Dec issue–“Rise & Dine.” {My article on Fahsye, a boutique in the North Winton neighborhood, is featured on pg. 10!}
    • Editor-In-Chief Leah Stacy is also a lady boss. And the epitome of grace and class.
    • (585) is an incredible resource for Rochester and Rochesterians.
    •  (585) Mag embraces, expounds upon, + enhances our community, our lifestyles, and our city.
    • At only $12/year, I strongly encourage you to subscribe to this publication.
    • If not … pick one up at any number of local stores, including Wegmans.
    • And their Launch Party for this issue at Cure … was baller. Make sure to keep your eye out for the next.
    • {Read + Subscribe here.}
  4. Rochester Community Acupuncture. I’m healing! Holistic health + wellness does not have to be expensive. At Rochester Community Acupuncture (RCA) in Village Gate, you decide how much to pay.
    • The sliding scale ranges from $15-$35.
    • Aside from the very real healing they have provided me since January 2014, I’m stoked about the fact that … I’m going to be in a RCA photo shoot!
    • It’s not like they sought-me-out. I just signed-up. But you know why it is a thrill??
    • Rochester is such an incredible community that smaller businesses + organizations call upon patrons to embody the face of their brands. Here are 2 really cool examples: Rochester Brainery + Thread.
    • {Visit website here.}

more to come 

The season is just getting started, and I predict that I shall have much more good news + merriment + Rochester pride to come. …

so stay tuned …





Which Monster are You?? Vampires, Werewolves, + Witches … oh my.

{ Eve tattoo by Karrah Teague at Lucky Lotus Tattoo.}


vampires + werewolves + witches, oh my


{ I had a migraine this weekend that failed to leave me at peace. It hit in waves + knocked me out several times throughout Friday + Saturday. I missed literally every tip + trick + treat I suggested for this weekend … boo to that … . Well – I did make it to Lux. I also made it to ORBS to celebrate a friend’s new job + Mint Salon for the freshy-fresh on my curls. The weekend wasn’t fully lost, but it did get me thinking about the monster–or monsters–that live inside of me … . }

Folklore + fairytales exist as cautionary tales. Moral + practical guides to life where, the end-game, is: a) fit-in + b) survive. I’m no folklore aficionado. Not even my enthusiasm for Hocus Pocus (full movie guys!!) grants me expert status. But I do know that just as much as they can feed-on our humanity, they actually feed it as well.

Like talismans, folklore + fairytales help us cope + conquer the complex, dark layers of our existence.

So the question remains … which monster are you??


Lux Lounge – 666 South Avenue.


These simple motifs reveal how folklore translates to daily life lessons … ones that never die.

  1. A Vampire cannot come in unless he or she is invited.
    modern equivalent: Don’t take candy from a stranger.
    translation: Stranger Danger. Don’t invite strangers into your personal space, even if they look innocent, needy, or tempting.
  2. It’s really hard for a Vampire or a Werewolf to control or curb his or her cravings for blood + flesh, but is necessary in order to maintain some semblance of humanity.
    modern equivalent: McDonald’s. Cocaine. Sex.
    translation: DARE. Don’t do drugs–or engage in addictive behaviors–when it risks controlling you.
  3. Witches are devil worshippers and consorts.
    modern equivalent: Woman are winey sluts who cannot be trusted, are disreputable, and unreliable.
    translation: Sexism. It’s pervasive and insidious. It turns entire societies, comprised of men + women + children, against any woman who deviates from societal norms and expectations, especially if this woman is powerful { … or enchanting … }.

monsters + humanity


Count Barbara – Avoiding daylight.

In very mundane, worldly ways, anyone can relate to all of these monsters. In fact, our monsters are the actual keys to unlocking our humanity.


Here are a few of my own comparisons.

  1. Vampires
    A. Vampires cannot go into the daylight.
    Me – When I have migraines … daylight destroys me.
    B. Vampires have an insatiable craving for blood.
    Me – I have an insatiable craving for water. My body shuts-down quicker than others when I can’t have it. When I get it, I drink it so fast, it guzzles down my chin and chest. I swear, I can almost sniff it out.
    C. Vampires are strong + sexy + wear dark lipstick.
    Me – Me too.
  2. Werewolves
    A. Werewolves transform every month.
    Me – Every single month, my body doesn’t just change. It transforms. Boobs? I mean, I don’t even recognize them. Then there’s the pain. My insides feel like a corkscrew. I am both bewildered + angry. Every single month.
    B. Werewolves are affected by the moon.
    Me – I have full-on full moon syndrome. That shit makes my life crazy, every single time. {Maybe because I drink so much water, who even knows.}
    C. Werewolves are big dogs. Kind of.
    Me – I love to cuddle + shunggle dogs. They are extra perceptive of my moods.
  3. Witches
    A. Witches use energy to heal.
    Me – I believe in, study, and practice using energy through Chakras, meditation, acupuncture, + yoga. {It works.}
    B. Witches are very intuitive + listen to their primal instincts.
    Me – Everyone should trust their gut. Not listening to your instincts is one of the most dangerous things you can do to yourself.
    C. Witches don’t give a fuck what you think.
    Me – I don’t give a fuck what you think, in the most empowering of ways of course.

Halloween is just 5 days away. Get in touch with your inner-monster before a new soul year begins on All Saints’ Day/Day of the Dead November 1.




Film + Feminism: The Contender.

{ Kickboxing at UMAC, formerly on Monroe Ave in Brighton, and now on School St in Victor. Check us out Wednesdays + Saturdays! }




{ This is a #shoplocal blog + today’s Week Wrap-Up post is not about shopping local. Certainly, with Fashion Week of Rochester having been this week and the Boutique Crawl today, it could be. But, more than anything The Shop Local Campaign, is also about sustainability. And with sustainability, empowerment. Today’s post is about empowerment. }

The Contender is a 2000 film with Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Gary Oldman, and Sam Elliott. It’s a political film. About electing a woman to the vice-presidency. It’s also the first film that’s ever really made me understand the need–the dire need–for representation of empowered women in mainstream media.


1. Inspiring Leadership in the President – In my lifetime, I’ve not been inspired by 1 president we’ve had. Not one. It’s disappointing, if not shameful. For one – Why is Bill Clinton the hero? And Monica Lewinsky the demon mistress?? Even Barbara Walters made fun of her, and that girl-on-girl–woman-on-woman–bashing has shaped me. I want to extricate it. Additionally, I REFUSE to let my presidential inspiration be a man who allowed his secretary to go down for him … and I mean that he let her take the blame.

Jeff Bridges for president. Or at least the character he plays here. (Or maybe even The Dude. I’m not sure.) What I do want is a president who is:

  • strong
  • brilliant
  • unafraid
  • in it for 1 term (and if the 2nd follows – okay fucking great)
  • and who is the truest bluest leader I will have ever laid eyes on.

This is what I want.

2. Challenged Me to Face Sexist Assumptions – In spite of the above, I am pretty liberal. At least in respect to human rights. In fact, while watching this film, I paused twice to pen the below 2 pieces on Tumblr:

I very clearly believe in women’s rights, feminism, and human rights in general. Because I believe in human rights, I absolutely strive to uncover my own prejudices. Here are a few the film helped me to unearth:

a.) 1st Scene where we meet Laine – She’s having sex with her husband.

  • My assumption: “She’s going to be the slutty female politician of this film.”
  • What this reveals:

i. A woman having sex in a film has to be a slut … Especially a woman of power.

ii. A female politician in a film who is feminized … has to be a slut.

The film challenges this in a wholly believable way, throughout, by leaveing both the audience and characters in doubt before reaching resolution.

3. Continued to Challenge me to Face Sexist Assumptions – Laine is accused of engaging in a “gang bang” while in college.

Pause. Throughout all literature in all cultures throughout all time, that is the ultimate heroine downfall. A one-way ticket to you’re-fucking-done.

a). No credibility. No grace. No intellect. No decorum.

b). Having unmarried sex–let alone “deviant” sex–might as well equate death.

c). The woman’s expected to atone.

d). Which just means she’s permitted to live in society. Not that she’ll actually get all of “a” back.


Laine does not atone. She does not apologize. She refuses to explain. Further, she does not blame or sling-mud. And you question it! You will question it. (Or, at least I did.) And good. That is the best thing you can do. So long as you can reconcile any doubts you have or any short-comings you realize about your own insights and,

instead of projecting your discomfort and doubts onto something else, look inside, dig real deep, be a fucking strong adult, and grow from it.

This film also has good acting. Just in case you need another reason to watch.

* * *

This film actually made me feel safe. Safe to be an empowered, sexually liberated, intellectual woman.

I’ve felt it crack. That shell we wear as women that compels us to harbor shame and resentment and doubt. I feel it cracking, and after watching this film, it actually feels easier to breathe. … This is what freedom from oppression feels like.

I want more mainstream media like this. I crave it.




This is Why We Thrift.

{ PHOTO – Don’t mind me neck pillow. }




Morgan Delapa - owner of Treasure Trove Vintage.

Morgan Delapa – owner of Treasure Trove Vintage.

{ RECAP: This week I went thrift shopping with Morgan DeLapa, owner of Treasure Trove Vintage, and her mama, Honey, photographer + owner of DeLapa Photography. They showed me the ropes + shared < most > of their trade secrets. (I still don’t know how Morgan finds her incredible vintage pieces, and that’s exactly why she has a boutique!) While I won’t “thrift + tell” the secrets they did divulge, this post shares 2 thrifty sources + 3 reasons to thrift on your own. The loot I cashed-in on??? Less than $35. Take a look! }


  • 2 sweatshirts
  • 1 chunky sweater coat
  • 1 sunflower cropped tank
  • 1 suede, satin, embellished vest
  • 1 romper (Forever21)
  • 1 skirt, tags-still-on (Zara)
  • 2 pairs of flats (1 brand name, 1 designer couture)
Cropped Sweatshirt.

Cropped Sweatshirt.

get your thrift on: this is why we thrift

  1. On Trend. I’m more a classics girl, myself. But when I find super trendy items for less than $5, I am about that single-season-wear. I want it. The on trend pieces from this thrifty trip??
    • cropped sweatshirt – wear it daily
    • suede + satin embellished vest – cannot wait to debut
    • sunflower cropped tank – welcome back ’90’s
    • romper – my 1st romp with ‘er
  2. Designer on a Dime. I don’t buy designer. I actually don’t care … and I can’t afford. But, when it’s designer for less than $50, let alone less than $5–well, that’s just smarts. And, it’s bragging rights:
    • $3, Zara beaded skirt, tags still on – $140 originally
    • $2.50, Joan & David couture, handmade in Italy leather loafers – $350+ estimated 
  3. Sustainability. Thrift shopping sustains 3 main stakes. When you thrift shop you:

I think we also thrift for the sheer excitement of finding exactly what we want for about 90% less than we normally pay. Some people thrift for the thrill + others, for the romance. Regardless, as you set fourth on your new thrift, take every single cue you can get from these 2 Rochester bloggers.

Handmade Joan & David Loafers. ... And my thighs.

Handmade Joan & David Loafers. … And my thighs.

 thrifty sources

Simply SarahFollow her on Instagram, Like her on Facebook, + Check out the website. Shit-you-not: once your jealousy over her insanely satiable finds subsides, you’ll remember to feel happy. Because this woman tells you what is up in the world of fashion thrifts + home finds.

The Treasure Trove. Okay! Rouse is up. You, too, can figure out < most > of Morgan’s secrets without accompanying her on a thrifting trip. Follow the blog, Double tap both Instagrams (personal and store), + Like Treasure Trove Vintage on Facebook, to … I hate to admit it … thwart my chances of buying up her entire boutique.

* * * 

And tell me, please … Why do you thrift??