Fun, Other Things I Like, Style

OMG – I Bought a Home!

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March 16, 2017 – greatest/scariest day of my life

Okay, so this post is a couple of months late, but that’s because there was no way I could share any pictures until my home had all the furniture I ordered, actually in it. ūüôā Plus, there’s a lot I learned about the “joys” of homeownership, that I’d be remiss not to share.

45 Days of Impatience

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As you saw in previous posts, on my home buying experience, if¬†there’s¬†two things I don’t have much of, it’s patience… and eyeballing measurements. ¬†When I put an offer on my home, and it was accepted, it took 45 days for closing, which is a short amount of time, compared to the standard (60 days). ¬†This meant I was moving out of my apartment a full two months early, which meant¬†breaking my lease (guess who won, financially, from that situation – hint: wasn’t me). ¬†It also meant having two weeks to pack up as much as I could, trying to sell almost all of the furniture that wouldn’t fit (note: I sold more than I needed – who doesn’t like new stuff anyway), and buying all of the paint I needed to begin painting, the minute I had my keys in-hand. ¬†Being a planner, it was the most painful experience, having to wait close enough to closing, to make absolute sure all of the financing went through. ¬†If you don’t have thick skin (mine is still in development), you’ll end up with¬†a few breakdowns, panic attacks, and bouts of “I want to buy that couch before it’s gone, oh my god, it’s gone”) impatience.

To add to this, the last time I got to see the place was one week after I put the offer in, which meant the proper thing to do would be to take great measurements and pictures. ¬†In my excitement, my handwriting was chicken scratch¬†(with the notes I took anyway), and no photos were taken because at the time, I though “I can totally eyeball this”. ¬†Thank God for the MLS listing, and being able to save the seller’s photos!

Moving Week

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If there was any time to have a reality show, it would have been “moving week”. ¬†First, I never should have said the words, “Watch it, it hasn’t snowed all winter, and it’s gonna snow the week of my move.” ¬†Guess what happened? ¬†Second, I grossly underestimated the amount of time it would take to paint extremely old walls. ¬†My house was built in the 40s and while cozy and charming, the layers of paint, spackle, divots, holes, and bumps, were no match for my paint rollers and brushes. ¬†(The upside, going up and down ladders for days, made for a tighter glutes.)¬†And while I was cursing up a storm, getting paint everywhere, my saint of a¬†boyfriend underestimated the time/strength it would take to move my stuff in simultaneously (which he thought he could do alone). ¬†After some reinforcement was called, and everything was in one place, we survived the following:

  • Snow, ice, mud
  • One back injury
  • One old knee injury flare up
  • A few hundred man hours of moving help
  • 16 hours of painting
  • 8 coats of paint
  • A lot of junk food consumption because the kitchen wasn’t unpacked
  • One sad pup who was passed off to family for a week, coming “home” to a different place than where he started

That Moment When you Realize You’re Responsible…. for Everything…

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I knew that when I bought the place, I’d be responsible for anything that broke, needed maintenance, renovating, etc. ¬†However, like anyone that brings home a baby, a puppy, or anything else delicate for the first time, everything freaks you out at first, and I mean EVERYTHING.

When is a Leak a Catastrophe?!

Week two and I find a tiny drip coming from the hot water heater, and you would have thought I thought it broke. ¬†“What if that slow drip turns into a bigger leak? ¬†And, what if that leak turns into a puddle, which turns into a flooded basement?” ¬†Were the questions I asked to my mom, before getting the name of her plumber, and calling my dad. My dad (who is the BEST Mr. Fixit), took one look and said, “You just need to tighten it. ¬†Go buy the wrench and some Teflon tape, just in case.” ¬†After I got over the shock that I didn’t even think of that, I took my ninth trip to Home Depot in two weeks (side question: When do they start customizing carts for repeat customers?), bought what I needed, and fixed it. ¬†I was proud of myself for being responsible (and now having enough tools to be the community’s handy-woman).

I Hate Bugs, No Seriously…

One and a half months in, and it’s spring, which means unwelcome “visitors”. ¬†Anyone ever seen a Centipede? ¬†Anyone see one RUN on 100 legs, about 5 feet from your bedroom? ¬†Yep… mama Centipede was squashed (by my own personal hero, my boyfriend, because I ran to my room and shut the door, screaming) but it turns out… she had kids, which when I found one in our bedroom, it went something like this:

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Thank God my sister is my Realtor,¬†and she could hand me the name and number of the Pest Control Inspector (Pest Now) we used for inspection. ¬†They¬†have become my own personal heroes.¬† For $89 a quarter, Pest Now is coming out and spraying because God knows I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night with a scene, straight out of Arachnophobia.

Realizing If You¬†Break a Window, You Have to Pay For It… So Move Furniture In Gently

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Not an exact depiction… but it did take four people to get it in…

If I was renting this place, I’d never give a second thought to popping out a window, in order to move furniture, in. ¬†I’d chalk it up to being part of the deal with moving into an old house with tight corners, and if it broke, no big deal. ¬†BUT, since this is MY¬†place, I’ve twice had to enlist the help of three people to carefully remove the windows, so two couches could come in through it… which begs the question of why I never thought to do it, while moving…

P.S. ¬†I’m pretty sure two sets of furniture delivery men hate me now.

The Fun Part…

Regardless of all the money you “bleed”, the sweat, tears, swear words, ripped/stained clothing, and physical pain you go through, to start turning a house into a home, it’s so completely worth it! ¬†I’ve already got renovation projects and small touches, on schedule for the next two years (take note of boyfriend’s total patience and encouragement, here).

In the meantime, while still a “work in progress”, I’ve managed to make our house a home. ¬†Below are before-and-afters of the rooms I’m sharing for now. ¬†Stay tuned for the myriad of decorating ideas, renovation projects, and any mental breakdowns that will come with this ūüôā

Guest Bedroom to Chic Office

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Design Notes: Still searching for just the right artwork to complete this room.  The paint is by Behr in Island Aqua, lamps from Safavieh, rug from Houzz, desk from Overstock, bookshelf from Overstock.

Drab Bedroom to Cozy Bedroom

 

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Design Notes: Pain by Behr in Espresso Martini, nightstands form Pottery Barn, lamps from Home Goods, bedding from Pottery Barn, fur throw from Z Gallerie, area rug from Home Depot, artwork from Home Goods.

Comfortable Living Room to Cozy Chic 

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Design Notes: Floor lamp on order, followed by two side tables, a mirror, and centerpiece display. ¬†Pain by Behr in Perfect Taupe, Dryden couches custom made by Crate and Barrel, coffee table, drapes and rug from Z Gallerie; painting by Maggie O’Neill, media console by Z Gallerie, travel books made by me on Shutterfly.

Multifunctional Dining Room to Dedicated Space

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Design Notes: We are refinishing this dining room wall with stone next year!  Table by World Market, dining chairs by Pier One, artwork by me, candles/candlesticks by Pottery Barn.

Outdoor Functional to Chic Outdoor Space

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Design Note: Next year there will be flower pots!   Outdoor set by Houzz.

 

 

 

Style

Style: My Style Revealed

Last night, I was out with a group of girlfriends, and one of them suggested I post my style in my blog.  Up until now, I had been using Pinterest however, it was noted that not everyone is on there.

Having been a former fashion columnist for Washington Life Magazine, I used to love writing about fashion and certainly, I enjoy wearing it ūüôā

Below are my looks, broken into 2010 – 2016, and then a separate one for 2017 (so far).¬†I tend to opt for classic pieces, adding a bit of flare here and there to stand out. ¬†You will see a couple of repeats because recycling isn’t a bad thing! ¬†I’ll do my best to share more of these from now on!

NOTE: You can pause this slideshow and flip at your own pace!

2010 – 2016

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2017

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Style

How to Create Chic Artwork for Less!

Moving into a new house is an amazing experience – having your own place that you can modify¬†and¬†decorate, to truly¬†make it your own¬†–¬†is so much fun… and so much money. ¬†We’ve been here a month and¬†although we’ve completed everything we want to do this year, we already have a list of renovations for the next two!

In the meantime, we found inexpensive options to make our¬†house our home. ¬†One room in particular that we’ll be redoing next year¬†is the dining room. ¬†We are looking at doing a stone wall but the costs are too great to complete it this year. ¬†In the¬†meantime,¬†I knew I needed something there, as I can’t bear to look at a bare wall! ¬†Thus, I scoured so many sites, looking for inexpensive artwork that would fill the blank space. ¬†I couldn’t find a single thing I liked that wasn’t pricey. ¬†Thus, I made my own!

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Below are the supplies I used and the steps I took to make these.

Supplies (All Can Be Found at Michael’s)

  • 20 X 20 white canvas
  • Krylon spray paint in flat white¬†+ primer
  • Krylon¬†spray pain in gray
  • Krylon Acrylic Crystal clear
  • Mona Lisa Metal Leaf Starter Kit (in gold)
  • Design Master Color Tool Metallic Spray (in gold)
  • Sharpie water-based gold paint pen
  • Multi-Surface Premium Chalky Acrylic Paint by Craft Smart (in gold)

Steps

  1. Spray the canvas with the flat white spray and let dry 5-7 minutes

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2. Spray a larger diagonal line with the gray spray paint and let dry for 5-7 minutes. ¬†You want those stripes to be slightly bigger the the gold stripes that will go on top, in order for the “shadow effect” to show.

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3. Spray the gold stripe on top of the gray stripe, leaving gray showing on both sides of the gold stripe.  Let it dry for 10-12 minutes.

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4. Using the¬†Multi-Surface Premium Chalky Acrylic Paint by Craft Smart (in gold) and a small paint brush, brush a stripe down the middle of each gold stripe. ¬†It should not be any bigger than two inches wide, across the entire stripe. ¬†When you’re done, use a paper towel to wipe off the excess so a faint streak appears across it. ¬†Let dry for another 15 – 20 minutes.

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5. Prep the stripes for the gold leaf to be applied by swiping the adhesive across where you want it to be on the gold stripes (get creative and certainly generous with it – this is what makes your painting pop)!

6. When the adhesive is tacky, tear the gold leaf and apply in a clunky fashion across the adhesive.

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7. Apply the sealer across the gold leaf, which will certainly flatten it out. ¬†I took the end of a paint brush and pushed around the gold leaf to bring it back “to life”. ¬†Let it dry over night.

8. I finished off the piece by adding in some gold dots and paint-like splatters on the white areas, with the Sharpie.

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9. I sealed the entire piece with the Acrylic crystal clear spray – let it dry for 5-10 minutes and then hung it!

NOTE: If you feel it looks too flat (my other half had to convince me it didn’t), you can buy gold foil and apply it here and there to make it pop more.

Advice, Healthy & Beautiful, Style

Blocking Harmful Negative Energies With Elegance

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A few months ago, a girlfriend of mine in Seattle, had posted a picture of a futuristic-looking pyramid, and a question, “Which one speaks to you?”, along with a link to more of these pyramids. ¬†Having no idea what they were, I flipped through all these beautiful, celestial-looking structures, amazed at their beauty.

What I came to find out later is that these pyramids server an extremely valuable purpose – their beauty is just a “byproduct”.

The website my girlfriend posted is http://litethelight.bigcartel.com¬†and the pyramids are called “Orgone Energy Devices”. ¬†The creator of these beautiful pieces, Michelle Hood, has been featured on Alanis Morissette’s blog¬†(which I STRONGLY recommend you read), which gives a great interview on Michelle, how she got into making these, as well as why these are so important.

So what does an Orgone Energy Device do? ¬†According to the card that came with mine, “The materials they are made out of amplify and restore harmonic balance. ¬†They function as self-driven continuously-operative, highly efficient DOR – POR (negative to positive) energy transmutation generators.” ¬†What does that mean… possible experiences include:

  1. Turns negative energy into positive energy
  2. Mitigates harmful effects of EMF
  3. Strengthens Nature’s own ability to prosper
  4. Awakens psychic senses
  5. Purifies the atmosphere, detoxifies water
  6. Deepens sleep state

If I sound crazy, note that this pyramid really works. ¬†Out of this list, #’s 1, 2, 5, and 6 have all been true. ¬†How do I know? ¬†Because the last place I lived in I was getting migraines, the air felt stale, I was tired all the time, and I always had trouble sleeping. ¬†In my new home, I’ve been happier, more energetic, I’ve been sleeping better, and I’m no longer getting headaches. ¬†In fact, this pyramid works so well that if I put my cell near it, it cuts off my call and/or decreases my signal, including wi-fi. ¬†While that seems concerning, this pyramid is in my office and everything still operates just fine – it just proves that it’s blocking the majority of EMF, which is so important!

According to Michelle (yes, she reached out to personally thank me for my purchase), the experience is different for everyone and, I managed to snag the only one of its kind.

The materials used to make mine:¬†Celestite, Black Tourmaline, Optical Calcite, Metatron’s Cube Disk, mSL, Blue – this combination is used to¬†enhance meditative practices, clear negative energy, purify the air, strengthen mental abilities, promote calm, deepen sleep, and awaken psychic abilities.

Note that Michelle makes different ones for different needs.  They come in three sizes and when you purchase, you should take into account how big your home is and what room this will go in.  You should also take stock of what you want to improve in your life, while selecting one, since different stones have different functions.

This was my very first purchase for my new home, and I’m so glad that it was. ¬†It is absolutely worth the investment!

 

 

Style

Top Shop Made the Perfect Valentine’s Dress

I love a good red dress but oftentimes, it’s hard to find something unique, stylish, and sexy (usually, it seems like someone cut plain red cloth and turned it into something functional). ¬†For Valentine’s Day this year, Top Shop happened to make not just the PERFECT red dress, but the PERFECT dress for¬†this special occasion! ¬†While it looks like it’s almost sold out on Nordstrom, I’m sure with enough research you can find your size on other sites!

Notes on this dress:

  • It contains vertical stripes of red sequins on the entirety of the dress (so definitely handle with care)
  • The top is not meant for bigger chests, yet the bottom part is meant to be loose
  • It’s flattering for almost any shape

What I paired it with:

  • Christian Louboutin nude patent leather Pigalle heels
  • Tory Burch nude clutch
  • David Yurman jewelry

 

 

Style

Top Shop Nailed Cheetah Print

A girlfriend of mine requested¬†that her guests should dress in as much sparkle as we possibly could. ¬†Being that I can’t shy away from a good theme party, I was up for the challenge.

I’ve never own a sequin dress before (as I wanted to leave the late 80s/early 90s where I found them) but why not? ¬†The result, spending HOURS searching for the perfect sequin dress that was just a little more over the top than I would usually wear. ¬†The winner? ¬†A cheetah print by Top Shop. ¬†Complete outfit list below.

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Me with my beautiful girlfriend Ashley at SAX.

Dress: Top Shop – on sale at Nordstrom for $55

Black patent leather platform heels: Jimmy Choo

Vintage black velvet Celine clutch

Advice, Healthy & Beautiful, Style

How Many Hundreds of Miles Have We Walked In This World?

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I’ve owned many pairs of athletic footwear. ¬†I’ve owned cheerleading sneakers that helped to win first place awards at local competitions; I’ve owned dance sneakers that have taken me to Nationals and gotten me on my University dance team; I’ve owned running shoes that¬†went on great morning runs with me,¬†along San Diego Bay; and the list goes on.¬†All of these have shared in great stories and great times, and all of them were easy to part with. It’s why I found it so surprising that this blue pair is still hard to let go of, despite the holes that are starting to appear, the lumps that are making them uncomfortable to wear, and the new pair (on the right) that I desperately need to start wearing.

Anyone that loves to be active, knows that a great pair of sneakers is one of the best investments you can make.  Three years ago, I was given a Nike gift card from my company and it came at a great time, as I was shopping for a new pair and going through a difficult time.  When these arrived, I was in love Рthe color was happy and it was instant magic the minute I put them on.  They instantly became my best friends.

If these sneakers could talk, they’d tell you of the move we did to San Diego (again), the miles and miles run/walked along the beach and bay, during sunrises, sunsets, and many weekends. ¬†It would tell you of the hikes in Laurel Canyon, the miles on the treadmill during a breakup, and the move we did back to D.C. a year later. ¬†But what made this “relationship” truly special were the travels we took to Canada, Sundance, Malta, Italy, Turkey, Italy (especially our hike on Mt. Etna), Mexico, India, Iceland, and all over the U.S. ¬†The minute we were together, the stress melted away and the adventures began. ¬†It’s hard to believe I have to start over with a brand new pair.

So why share this odd news with the world?  Motivation.

Some people think that working out requires a gym membership, or even a gym. ¬†Others think working out is a chore. ¬†But really, putting on sneakers and going for a walk in your neighborhood, or finding a great little path in a new place, or taking them with you on vacation, and spending time outside with fresh air; is just as great of a workout! ¬†A pair of sneakers (in a fun color) will take you places all over the world and the best part, it’s cheaper than those gyms you hate to join, as well as future health bills (physical and mental) that you don’t want. ¬†They’ll become your best friend through bad times and good. ¬†And before you know it, you’ll be posting similar things on your own pages when it’s time to turn them in for a new pair.

Never really bought a good pair before?  Here are some tips:

  1. Yes, they an be expensive – know where to go! ¬†Nike does great half-yearly sales but if that’s not an option, look at Nordstrom Rack or any other discount store. ¬†My new ones were $50!
  2. Try them on in person! ¬†Every person’s foot is different and requires a different type of sneaker. ¬†Put them on, step on the ball of your foot, roll back your heel, and see if they bend with your foot in the right way. ¬†The wrong pair will feel odd.
  3. Arch type: Higher arches require higher, more flexible support.  Flatter arches require a flatter, stronger support.  I have a mid-arch, which needs a flexible shoe. To check both, the insole will have better curves and the sole will be bendable.
  4. It should be breathable and light: It doesn’t matter if you’re running, cross training, or just walking. ¬†Sneakers should not be heavy and should be able to breathe. ¬†Nike makes a lot of great, light-weight sneakers that will offer full support but not weigh down your ankles and knees.
  5. They come in fun colors for a reason! ¬†Bright colors¬†not only draw the eye, but also create just enough serotonin to begin boosting endorphins (which of course, are multiplied immensely when you’re working out).

While I’m sad to see my old pair go, I’m excited to see where this new pair will take me and what we’ll experience together. ¬†I’ve already got some great plans for us, so stay tuned!

 

 

Healthy & Beautiful, Style

Size Does Not Matter, Confidence Does

Words cannot even begin to express how outraged I am at the Washington Post for publishing an article on how¬†“even an extra five pounds can hurt your job chances”.

Read the article in-full above and my response to them below, before proceeding to read the rest of this…

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Yes, I am in an uproar. This article by Ms. Paquette (who appears to be a “champion” for the female race) has happened to write a piece that in no way offers solutions, to what is not even necessarily a U.S. epidemic. ¬†Being a long-time writer myself, I understand that much of what gets written is based on external factors, such as PR pitches, payment for mention, need to make article quota, etc. ¬†However, it’s this sense of urgency, this selfish need to make sure the article¬†gets in for the day, that it inadvertently contributes to the increased distrust, hostility, undue anger, stress, and emotional strain of the already (seemingly) fragile human race. ¬†While news writing has always had an “angle” to spark¬†reader’s¬†interest (and I’ve seen things created out of thin air to divert away from a sensitive story), it also used to have a sense of responsibility to properly educate.

SO… I’m going to pick up where my fellow writer fell off. ¬†I’m going to provide proper solutions that not only gain confidence internally, but instill it within the potential employer as well. ¬†Note that this leans towards females (including transgender), as it was pretty clear who this article focused on.

  1. KNOW YOUR SHIT, or at least appear to. ¬†The number one rule to exuding confidence is your ability to demonstrate/speak to how you are able to perform¬†what is asked of the job; offering ways in which you can bring additional value they might have not necessarily recognized as a need; and promoting your level of professionalism, i.e. being kind/friendly but¬†knowing boundaries of personal life vs. professional life. ¬†I’ve never seen someone not get a job because they had all three down to a tee but were five+ pounds overweight (insert eye roll). In fact, their internal beauty radiates outward.
  2. Cut out the defensive/sheepish language. ¬†I was given a hugely valuable piece of advice years ago: “Stop using words and phrases like ‘just’, ‘basically’, ‘umm’,¬†and ‘I’m sorry’ (unless you really did do something).” ¬†Not only has it drastically improved my presentation skills and sales pitches, it’s also instilled¬†a much greater sense of confidence in me, as¬†customers and coworkers alike are responding in a much more positive manner. ¬†See some examples of what these words look like in phrases¬†below:
    1. “I just wanted to see if…” or “I just thought…”¬†instead, use “I wanted to see if…” or “I think that…”
    2. “So basically I’m calling because…” or “Basically this is about…” instead, use “I’m calling because…” or “This is about…”
    3. “Ummm… as you can see here…” or “I… ummm… wanted to speak with you today…” instead, use “As you can see here, on this chart…” or “I am here to speak with you on…”
    4. “I’m sorry if this eats into your day…” or “If this creates more work, I’m sorry…” instead, use “I recognize this will eat into your day however…” or “I recognize this may create more work however…”
  3. Feel good, look good. ¬†Seriously. ¬†I don’t care what race, shape, age, etc. ¬†If YOU feel good, YOU WILL¬†look good! ¬†I used to volunteer my lunch hour to teach women (who were entering the workforce, after living in a halfway house for abused women and children), on the basics of professional appearance. ¬†I¬†didn’t conform them to one sense of style, but more general tips of appropriate dress and body language, as well as personal grooming. ¬†Some of them are below:
    1. Dress to your body type.  No one, of any shape and size, should be wearing tight-fitting clothing to work, period.  Beautiful skirt (to the knee) and pant suits are made in all sizes, and in all fabrics, and in all price ranges.  Paired with a print top, and it draws the eyes away from any features you would like to de-accentuate.
    2. Personal grooming. ¬†Wearing makeup or not is a personal choice for sure. ¬†Instead, my advice was on ensuring cleanliness, a good night’s rest, and plenty of water that morning (okay, and a coffee as well). ¬†What always got a laugh was, “Don’t roll out of bed and go to the interview! ¬†Treat it as though you were about to go on an exciting date.”
    3. Sit up straight and keep an open stance. ¬†I’ve seen people slouch down in interviews, like they are sitting through a class. ¬†Sitting up straight not only improves posture, it keeps you awake! ¬†In regards to an open stance, ¬†do not fold your arms over your chest, and do not interlock fingers if you need to put your hands together. ¬†Instead,¬†you may place one hand on top of the other, or gently have one hand,¬†on top of a slightly closed fist.

With all of this in mind, sometimes, we need to practice. ¬†Or, we might need a coach! ¬†Below I’ve listed some wonderful resources to contact, should you need help with style, or professional¬†coaching!

Style

  • Lauren RothmanStyle Auteur¬†– She’s the author of¬†Style Bible, and a stylist to many of the who’s who in the U.S.
  • Kelley KirchbergDivine Style¬†– Famed for her fabulous charitable fashion shows, and¬†know-how on making women feel beautiful, Kelly has increasingly gained traction with women everywhere!
  • April FiroozabadiMyDCStyle – April¬†has a highly trained eye. ¬†She can take one look at you, and immediately know what colors, cuts, fabrics, and styles will look best on you.

Coaching

  • Emily SilvaSouls Adventures –¬†I can’t think of a more wonderful person to have as a personal and professional coach, than Emily! She’s fearless, confident, and beautiful inside and out. ¬†A few years ago, she left her sales profession to become a full-time life and career coach, author, and adventurer; and has never had to look back! ¬†Her life and professional experiences, via the help of self-reflection and meditation, have led her to follow her heart of helping others. ¬†One session with her, and you’re left feeling more confident, in control, and with a much better sense of self! ¬†(Yes, she can do virtual sessions.)

For the sake of promoting internal beauty, I have not listed out more cosmetic contacts I have available.  If you are interested in any cosmetic contacts, whether it be for personal headshot, makeup tutorials, hair styling, esthetic work, etc., please reach out to me, and I am happy to share my list!

Healthy & Beautiful, Style

Girlfriends Making Waves: Smile Swag Teeth Whitening

I’m always so proud of my girlfriends and what they accomplish in their lives. ¬†They’ve learned to be fearless leaders in their industries, saying yes to opportunities that open¬†more doors, to even more sparkling futures.

One such lady is my girlfriend Dr. Mehrnaz (Alex) Naini.  Dentist to the athletes, as well as some other very notable patients, she has made waves in the cosmetic dental industry, not just for her cutting-edge procedures, but also her tireless contributions to media, events, and other activities that educate consumers on keeping your smile healthy and fresh.

A few months ago, she launched a small line of products called Smile Swag, geared mostly toward women who want their smile to be and/or appear whiter.

At dinner, she handed me a small box, about as big as what would contain a lip gloss.  Inside was a portable wand of tooth whitener gel, designed to quickly be applied on and in between your teeth, after any stainable food or drink has been consumed.  With regular use, your teeth become whiter. It requires no setting time and no rinse, and even has a hint of minty freshness.

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She showed me how easy it is to apply (you only need very little at a time!) and how within seconds it not only contributes to whiter teeth, but dissolves as though you never applied it (unlike those whitening trays that leave you drooling, sitting around for 30 minutes, waiting to be able to rinse and talk).

She also talked about her small line of lip colors and gloss that have a blue-red base.  This universal tone helps your teeth to appear whiter without rubbing off quickly.  And, I have to say, looks flattering on just about everyone!

I know this is just the beginning for her product line, and I couldn’t be prouder or more supportive of her. ¬†If you want to get straight to shopping, click here.

Canada, Style, Toronto, Travel

Fashion Follows Form: Fashion That Makes You Think

Per my travel blog yesterday on my wonderful time in Toronto, I mentioned the fashion exhibit that my girlfriends and I went to see at the Royal Ontario Museum, entitled, “Fashion Follows Form”. ¬†I felt it deserved its own blog post.

Located in a hidden section on the fourth floor and although small, the exhibit was powerful.  It presented three different questions that really made you think about how one shape does not fit all, and that there are some niche markets out there that could be big business for the right designers:

1. How do you construct clothes for the handicap?

2. What if you do¬†incorporate less-often used materials into fashion –¬†how does it change the silhouette?

3. Have we been shopping for outfits all wrong?

Designing Clothes for the Handicap

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Well-known, Canadian designer-to-the-stars, Izzy Camilleri, was approached in 2004 by a handicapped journalist, asking her to create a functional, yet fashionable wardrobe for her.  It was then that IZ Adaptive was born (you can read the full history here).  She had a small but wonderful collection of her designs on display, ranging from functional leather jackets, to trench coats and wedding attire.

It was a wonderment to¬†see how she was¬†able to deconstruct even the most classic of pieces, such as a trench coat, that makes you really think about HOW clothes are constructed. ¬†Her exhibit explains that even clothing for abled-persons isn’t designed for sitting – it’s designed for standing. ¬†The standard patterns used are a straight cut, causing most dresses, skirts, shorts and pants to ride up when we sit down. ¬†For a person who is wheelchair-bound, it doesn’t make any sense¬†thus, she¬†designed an L-shaped pattern that is more comfortable and flattering. ¬†It also reduces the amount of “bulk” that can result from ill-fitting clothes in a sitting position.

Her exhibit makes you think Рhow else can a pattern be reconstructed to accommodate other types of functional needs?  Will fashion ever get away from mass production, one-shape-fits-all standards?  Will more designers emerge for specialty clothing that accommodate special needs?  This could open the door to new lines of business for already existing designers.

Updating Classics Using Mixed Materials

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The other half of this exhibit was centered around silhouettes, updating classics and how the use of mixed materials can change both dramatically.

The image above is an unbelievable fur and mesh mix dress from a classic silhouette pattern. ¬†The bulk of the fur and the leather belt accentuates the femininity of the garment while providing a unique twist on an evening gown. ¬†In person, it’s stunning. ¬†Fur isn’t something widely used past outwear and accessories, provoking thoughts of what other materials can be used to create wearable designs.

But, it’s not just about material and finding inspiration within a silhouette or a classic. ¬†It’s also¬†about the detail and appreciating the painstaking process that a designer goes through¬†to¬†complete their work of “art”. In the image below, you can see the creative use of beading, colors, materials and shapes. ¬†Take a look at each piece and study the detail. ¬†Take a look at how these outfits actually flow together to create stunning, complete looks. ¬†It makes you realize that individually, you may never wear these pieces¬†but instead, they were made to go with each other. ¬†When you look at it this way, it changes our way of shopping. Instead of shopping for¬†individual pieces, we start to shop for entire outfits because “the look” is actually what we’re after, not just the pants or the shirt. ¬†(Check out my Pinterest page for examples.)

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Being enthralled with fashion and taking the time to really study this exhibit, it was inspiring and impressive. ¬†Even if you’re not a fashion enthusiast, walking through this exhibit gives you a newfound appreciation for those that can take something simple and turn it into a wearable masterpiece. ¬†I highly suggest that anyone, who finds themselves in Toronto, checks it out.