Through ups and downs. Through laughter and through tears. 

4 years. Unbelievable, but Practical Queen AP celebrates its 4th birthday today! I remember the day I started my blog as if it was just yesterday. Maybe somewhere deep-deep inside my mind I knew, or felt, that in years April 27th will mean that much to me. I remember sitting in front of my computer, looking through some blogs and those appealing fashionista's images (it was The Blonde Salad by Chiarra Ferragni and Style Scrapbook by Andy Torres, and some others). And the this though came to my mind: "Why don't I start my own? I mean it's an interesting hobby. Back in the days we used to have those soft cover book-like diaries, but since there's Internet we can also share our diary with others..." Remark: Prior starting Practical Queen AP I had another blog with my best friend, where we used to post some uber funny stories (at least to us it seemed to be so). Basically, blogging was not a very new thing to me. So then, on April 27th, I opened Blogger Blogspot and was trying to find out that special name for my blog.

I wanted my blog's name to be interesting and catchy, but it took me good several hours to come up with the final, Practical Queen AP, name. And I just realized I never really talked about the story behind it all. Why, and most importantly how, these three words came together. I should probably start from the back, where AP is an abbreviation of my name - Anna Puzova. So instead of putting only my name in the header of the blog I came up with such a trick. Next, why Queen? It came more from my Twitter account, where I was by that time registered as Queen_AP (so here my name abbreviation shows up again) and I couldn't find anything better than using my twitter nickname. Now here comes the most interesting part, where I should explain how I came up with the word Practical. So weeks before starting my own blog I travelled to London, where I visited my university (back then I was still reaching my school graduation stage) for the very first time and during my short, pre-moving-to-London, stay in the city of my dreams I got myself a pretty interesting book 'Practical Princess Perfect Wardrobe' by Elika Gibbs. By the way, highly recommend the book, it's pretty helpful in personal wardrobe's organization process and has lots and lots of useful wardrobe and style tips. I like the book pretty much, so when I was in a search for blog's name it actually came as a sort of inspiration. And, basically, I took the word Practical because of a rather practical approach towards fashion in general than a super consumerist one. So yes, that's the reality of how Practical Queen AP was born - on a late evening of April 27, 2011, in a room of an 18 (yet) years old Russian girl from a little Eastern European city of Riga. A girl that was about to enter the wonderful yet big and frightening (it seemed so because I knew near to nothing about fashion) world of fashion.

Practical Queen AP started as a hobby. Having only undertaken a one-year Image Design course at Bogomolov' Image School, one of, I guess, two or three, prominent schools in Latvia that are able to give a proper fashion styling knowledge, I couldn't imagine that in several years I will heavily specialize in digital fashion, as well as in a kind of fashion journalism. To tell the truth, I couldn't imagine going such a path even a year ago, when I was graduating from university with a Bachelor's degree in Arts and a specialization in Fashion Business. Back in 2011 the only thing I wanted to specialize in was styling. And that's what I did throughout my 3 years at university. My blog was in a sense a diary of my personal styling, sometimes cool, sometimes strange, sometimes nothing at all. It was my diary that I kept more for my own self. Plus taking into consideration the fact that it was that time, when I moved to London I also kept it as a kind of my diary by means of which my friends could follow up my big city life, a little part of it, if to be precise. Need to say that the point of showing a bit of my home country also came as a way of introducing Latvia to foreign friends. But the understanding of a two-way, Latvia to the world and world to Latvia, blog orientation came much later.
As I said above, back in the days when I just moved to the city of Big Ben and Tower Bridge it was just a hobby, so it was pretty natural for me to just not to post anything during several month period. New city, new people, new adventures - it was a huge journey I had to follow without thinking "Oh, I need to post this and this" and so on. And I can't be more thankful for having those 3 years, and every single person I met, in my life. London changed my life, it did change everything inside my head, and most importantly it changed me. But going back to my digital girl, at certain stages I kept coming back to this place. I kept moving it forward without any second thought, I just kept sharing what I found interesting.

And it was until Summer-Autumn 2014, when things started changing both for me and for Practical Queen AP. It was the time when I packed all my stuff and left London. I never thought it'll happen or will happen that soon, but I left. And I didn't leave for New York or Paris, as I somehow was trying to predict, I went back to a little Eastern European city of Riga. Without clearly understanding why. Why would one with a pretty unique degree in Fashion Business go back to a little country with not even properly developed fashion system you would ask? Well, as they say, the people who are crazy enough to think they can —Āhange the world are the ones who do. I don't know how fair this saying is in real life, but it might be a sort of an answer to the question above. After digging hard for any single piece of information about Latvian retail and fashion. i.e. financial figures and statistics, and 'sucking it out of a thumb' for my diploma work, I knew I have to go back and find out what's going on out here in terms of fashion business. The truth is that system was not ready, it still isn't, to take on its board highly educated individuals. I was turned down by every single employer in Latvia, who was looking for a back office person. By saying turned down I actually mean the fact that only 2% of companies did reply, out of which only 1% did call me for an interview.
So this was the point of no return. The point when Practical Queen AP literally stopped being a hobby. Having dedicated some good time to my blog by posting own looks and creating other entertaining sort of stories, I came into stage when partners started coming in and turning my blog into a more interesting project. Since then I had a chance to turn my looks into a shoppable section with similar pieces being available online through the blog, which you ladies seem to like a lot. We do love inspirations, but when it's shoppable it takes our experience to a whole new level, right? Then comes the advertisers. Have to be honest, I'm really picky with this. I'm in general very picky kind of a person, so when it comes to partnerships I simply try to stay focused on my vision and mission I developed for my project (aka blog), plus, I give my upper hand to the ones I myself can relate with and I would love my readers to do the same. Therefore, I can't be more happy and proud to have the advertisers who are not only highly popular, but also are internationally successful online retailers in the fashion industry, on the list today.

As we started speaking about website in details. Having learnt major aspects of the fashion business, I play huge attention to Practical Queen AP's design that is under constant development. I always keep finding pieces I would love to be developed. The beginning of the year faced the major changes in my website's design which was highly designed by KayLuxe. Still recently the design was refreshed a bit. Moreover, I do plan some other serious changes, but can't reveal it yet. Design is crucial, just like the vision or content. Speaking of content, here comes the so-called evolution of my writing skills that I find as equally important as the visual aspects of the blog. Now who would have thought that at certain point I'll still be here revealing my digital freak? Just a year ago, when looking into digital fashion while still at university I was totally sure I'm not going into it. And today I'm the owner of own website, or a project, that is a place for inspiration, visual inspiration, and fashion intelligence.
Meanwhile, Practical Queen AP allows me to follow my biggest dream - discover the world of fashion by all means. And share this journey with you all. 757 stories went live so far, and much more are yet to come. Lots of ups and downs, lots of happy moments, as well as tears that remained out of the picture, were faced by me and this digital girl throughout these several years. Lots of feedback from around the world, from you guys, has been derived. Positive and negative (shall I put it constructive better?). A little community of ours has been built as well. And I can't be more blessed to see it all happening. And I can't be more determined to go further, step by step. There's always something to consider, there's always something to get inspired by. And there's always this strive to leave own mark in this world. To finish off this several thousand words (!!!) long story I would like to address this to every single person out there, on the other side of the screen, keep following your dream, but make sure it all comes from within, from the bottom of your heart, and is followed by hours and hours of work, as well as strive to learn. I can't say I know a lot about fashion, in reality I know so little even though I spent 3 years discovering all those different aspects under the guidance of experienced individuals from day to day. It's still not enough. And I guess it'll take me a lifetime to learn it all, to discover it all. So much is yet to come in the future and I'm in anticipation of every single discovery that will come my way, which I'll be able to share with you. So, lets continue our adventure!     

P. S. There's no birthday bash without balloons and popping colors. And let me predict your questions about the number and color of the balloons. Four is the number of years Practical Queen AP is facing today, while one white balloon out of hot pink ones symbolizes the fact that 4th year is a time of big changes and new stage, call it white path if you want. Plus we see the picturesque background of a hometown glory filled with Spring-y sun rays coming in handy for this special story.

Look of the Day:
Capriola coat
Asos total look

Photo: T. Egorova