Blogging definitely brings new friends into your life. We have been happy to slowly get to know the gals behind a local blog, Stella Shops. You can see their articles every other month in Her Nashville and you can find their newest finds and favorite shops on their site. Mizzie and Carla are both transplants to Nashville, and Nashville is all the better for having them. Today, we are glad to introduce you to the force known as Stella Shops.
Where did you grow up and what led you here?
Carla: I grew up in Warren, Ohio, close to Cleveland. I ended up in Nashville via Indianapolis where I met my husband. He started Groove Mold Remediation in 2003 with a college friend who was already here, so we made the move.
Mizzie: I grew up in the thriving metropolis of Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Wink, wink.) I never felt like I fit in there so I left high school early and started working and traveling. When I got engaged, my fiancé was living in London and I was ready to leave Tulsa, so we both decided Nashville was good fit since we both had worked here and had friends here.
How did you two meet and decide to start Stella Shops?
Carla: Sometimes good things really do come out of bad situations. Mizzie and her husband had a huge water damage in their home while they were away in London. My husband was called in to do the demolition and then seal their crawl space. While he was working on their house, he talked with Mizzie a lot and literally told her, “I think you’ll be my wife’s new best friend.” Once the work was complete, we met for a very wine-filled dinner at Flyte, and the rest is history.
A trip to Vancouver in 2007 and a little guide book that fit in my purse that directed me to all the best boutiques was the inspiration behind Stella Shops. I remember sitting at a coffee shop and telling my husband Nashville needed something like that book. Having left behind two Nordstrom stores in Indianapolis, I struggled at first to find all the brands I loved again. I found them all at local stores, but they were so spread out and some were so tucked away, I felt there needed to be something that directed people there. With Mizzie’s style and hair and makeup expertise, I knew she would be the perfect partner. We love a lot of the same things, but have such different styles, once we decided on a blog it became the perfect outlet for us to talk about all the things we loved.
How do your day jobs influence Stella Shops?
Carla: I get to visit a lot of my favorite boutiques more often now because they advertise in Brite. I get to see the new items and designers they’re carrying and many times those visits serve as inspiration for new features on the blog.
Mizzie: I work as a freelance hair and makeup artist, so knowing and understanding current fashion and makeup trends is a big part of my job, which is totally helpful for doing research for the blog. As a makeup artist, I am constantly discovering and falling in love with new products, as well as seeing amazing shoes, accessories and clothes on sets. I love sharing my finds with our readers through reviews, tutorials and photos. My day job doesn’t really feel like a “job,” it feels like fun, and having a job like that helps me come up with creative ideas for Stella Shops.
Have you discovered any hidden gems in town on the prowl for material for the blog?
Carla: It’s not really a secret anymore, because I feel like we constantly talk about Old Made Good. I love giving gifts that have been made by a local artisan and OMG is pretty much my go-to spot. The Five Points Collaborative where Goodbuy Girls and Alegria are now located is also a great shopping spot for unique gifts and great pieces by local artisans.
Mizzie: Nashville is full of hidden gems! That’s one of the reasons we started Stella Shops. I think my favorite gem is UAL on West End. I am still shocked when I meet someone who has not visited the designer liquidator, and usually have to resist the urge to grab them by the hand and take them there immediately. Carla and I have had to set real boundaries with the boutique due to not being able to resist the uh-mazing deals we find every time we step into the place.
Carla: Yes, UAL is dangerous and now that we’ve gotten to know Samantha Oaks (the manager), it’s even worse! She texts me when they get new merchandise or start a sale. I know it’s for the weekly sale post, but it makes it even harder to resist the urge to shop there. I feel like I’m missing out on all kinds of deals.
Mizzie, with all the time you spend in London, do you see any similarities to Nashville?
No not really. They are both fascinating cities but in completely different ways. Experiencing the cultural contrasts is one of the things I love about living in both places.
What is the biggest difference you see in how European women dress compared to American women?
Effort. I can really only speak for the women I see in London and its surrounding areas, but even when I travel it seems like Americans put way more obvious effort into the way they look and dress then English women do.
When you have people visit from out of town, where is the first place you think to bring them to dinner?
Mizzie: Mas Tacos. (Ok maybe not for dinner, but oh my gosh I love me some Mas Tacos.) Depends on how much money I want to spend. I usually take people to Rose Pepper because it’s close and quirky, but if I want to go for a more fancy fare I would take them to Rumours East.
What is your favorite thing to do on Saturday night?
Carla: Hanging out with friends with good food and cocktails. This could be at a friend’s house or a late night trip to No. 308.
Mizzie: Go dancing!
Carla, many think of Nashville as the place for country music, but there is so much more. How would you describe Nashville’s music scene?
Diverse! You can truly find every genre of music. You can go to a great rock show practically every night, which I think surprises a lot of people. I’m constantly impressed by the level of talent here.
Is there another city that Brite continues to find the same amount of talent in?
Brite finds talent from all over the globe. We’re getting ready to expand into several other music cities in 2012 including Austin, Denver and Portland. It’s going to be an exciting year.
What word, or two or three, best describes each of you?
Carla: This is probably because I’m battling a cold right now, but I’d say busy and tired. (Ha ha – don’t let all those Facebook party photos fool you.) I’m pretty exhausted, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m having a lot of fun.
Mizzie: Funny, expressive and a little cray-cray.
What is currently on your bedside table, or iPad/Kindle, that you are reading?
Carla: I just started reading an interesting brand marketing book called Zag by Marty Neumeier. When I can carve out time on my laptop not writing a blog post, I like to read the online magazines, Matchbook and Rue. I also have a pile of fashion mags that I can’t ever seem to get caught up on.
- 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child by Naomi Steiner MD and Susan L. Hayes
- How to be an Adult in Relationships by David Richo
- And same as Carla, a stack of fashion mags that I need to peruse.
Would you share the ultimate Stella Shops dinner party playlist with us?
We have pretty eclectic tastes in music. You would definitely hear these songs at a Stella Shops dinner party… or possibly in the elevator of a W Hotel:
1,2,3 – Camille
Breathe In – Frou Frou
A & E – Goldfrapp
King of the Mountain – Kate Bush
Dance Dance Dance – Lykke Li
Breathe – Telepopmusik
All Minde – Portishead
Lucky – Radiohead
Plastic Beach – Gorillaz
Starry Eyed – Ellie Goulding
Daydream – Youth Lagoon
Wired – I Break Horses
With all your adventures in shopping, what do you most want to see wrapped up for yourself this holiday season?
Carla: I rarely have anything specific in mind, which drives my husband and family crazy. I tend to love statement jewelry, and especially jewelry made by local designers. Basically, I tell my husband anything from Sleeveless, Nest Interiors, Old Made Good or Amanda Valentine’s Etsy shop will work just fine.
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding family, friends and God.)
- my pugs, Mingus and Stella
- my cell phone
- dark chocolate or wine (I love them both equally!)
- My laptop – I say at least weekly, “How did I live before laptops?”
- My camera – I have jumped on the photography bandwagon. Much to my friends and family dismay (especially my husband). I love, love, love taking photos.
- Tweezers – I will admit it here, I have a unibrow. Tweezers are a necessity.