Monday, August 5, 2013

Dallas Dweller: Heather Lettieri

Dallas is full of colorful characters. There are those you see monthly in the society pages, whose stories are legendary in this town. But, this feature is inspired by the people that I think you should know more about because of their fabulous style, interesting back-story or amazing accomplishments.  Dallas Dweller seeks to introduce you to these fabulous faces.  I met Heather Lettieri through her work with DFW Style Daily.  I am always drawn to her like a moth to a flame.  She is the kind of girl I wanted to be at her age but wasn't confident enough to be. She's a mix of vintage chic and bohemian cool. She's introspective and likes to muse about death and love on her social sites - making her seem very dark and mysterious. But she also has a vulnerable side that makes me want to protect her - even though I have a feeling she could kick ass in a bar fight.

Heather at a recent event, captured by photographer QC Cong

Heather Lettieri

+Heather Lettieri was born in Buffalo, New York but raised in the suburbs of North Dallas. "I was always in a hurry to grow up and 'be someone' so in pursuit of that, I graduated high school a year early at 16. I left Texas and quickly figured out that, (a) I missed Dallas and (b) I didn't want to go to college. When I was growing up, my mom owned her own business and I gained a great deal of customer service and management skills from working with her. I put those skills to use and started rising the ranks within the restaurant chain I worked at. By 22, I was HR manager for 9 Dallas locations. But the job was unfulfilling and after a major upper management change within the company, I walked away from it in search of something else."

Fashion was her passion and in 2011 a chance meeting with DFW Style Editor, Lisa Petty changed the course of her life. Lettieri muses, "I heard about this event - Fashion's Night Out 2011 - and decided I would grab my camera and head out alone to Highland Park Village to see if there really were people in my own city that were interested in the same things that I was. I got lucky. Like, really lucky. I met Lisa Petty, editor-in-chief of DFW Style Daily that night and after weaseling my way into her heart she eventually sent me on an assignment months later. I remember it was all the way out in Ft. Worth and I knew I was a good writer but I also knew no one would care about the story unless we had killer images. I didn't have the skill set needed, so I paid a photographer pal to shoot for me. It was a risk but we must have done something right because Lisa asked me to become a regular contributor the next day. The rest is history. Now I sit front row at all the local shows and see the coolest, newest venues."

Lisa Petty and Heather Lettieri
photo: Mockingbird Station on Facebook
Rapid Fire Q&A with Heather Lettieri

What are your favorite places around town to shop? 
I really enjoy online shopping, not even gonna lie, but here in town I usually go for vintage. I especially love Zola's Everyday Vintage in Bishop Arts and Lula B's in Deep Ellum. Also in Deep Ellum, Factory Girl is pretty much my dream boutique. I could live in there, but, sigh, I don't think Heather (owner) would let me. TenOverSix may be new but I've already found great gifts there and covet pretty much everything in stock. They make my list for sure. Actually, can I live there too?

What are your favorite restaurants? 
I have expensive taste and I love trying new places. I'm more likely to drop a dime on dinner than a new dress, and my wallet hates me for it. I also keep an ongoing list of restaurants to try on my phone, but I won't even get into all of that. My top three favorites are all sentimental choices, because I'm sweet like that. Chamberlain's (for when you're up north), Nonna (hey, I'm half Italian), Aw Shucks (aw, yeahhh!), and The Grape (at the end of my street) are consistently fantastic and they all hold special spots in my heart. But then again, I could always just go for pho or sushi.

Where do the cool kids hang out these days? 
I usually follow the music. Generally that leads me to Lower Greenville or Deep Ellum to catch a show, but my friends and I also all seem to have a knack for stirring up a bit of mischief. Last week, after finishing up a night cap in the Design District, we decided to scale a building and have our own rooftop party. That kind of thing happens quite frequently. It doesn't matter where you are anyway. You have to make your own magic.

What's your favorite venue to see a live show?
The Granada Theatre will always hold top position in my heart. I have seen so many acts there and made countless memories within those walls. I'm lucky to live a mile away. I can walk there whenever I want, grab a wine-arita across the street, and instantly be happy.

An Instagram selfie - she's famous for them
What do you think makes Dallas such a great place to live, work and raise a family?
Like a lot of people, it took leaving Dallas for me to actually appreciate all that we have here. Industries are consistently strong and there is always something to do. I love how there are so many little pocket neighborhoods with something to offer for everyone. I love the people. I love the opportunities. You can live 15 different lifestyles here and never have to leave the city. You know that feeling you get when you're flying back home at night and the plane starts descending towards Love Field and the skyline surrounds you all lit up, big and bright? That's what it's like to live in Dallas. To love where you are everyday.

Tell me something about you that most people don't know. 
I wore a back brace for two years. As you might guess, it sucked. Also, I've been car-free for two years and take DART most everywhere. That always surprises people, but I don't really see why.

Your Instagram name is @KittenThief.  What's with the cat obsession?
I grew up with a fierce love of animals, but cats were my favorite. We always had at least three kitties in the house and they were my best pals. They make me laugh and they make me happy and I try to evoke those same responses with all my silly cat pics and posts.