I turned 25 this year and I had a bit of a quarter life crisis. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and I was looking for advice on how to navigate this crazy adventure that is my 20’s. So for my birthday I asked my family to write a letter to themselves…
Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined.
Recently life has taken quite the turn and now it’s time to tell my story. I haven’t blogged in SO LONG, but here we go again. Little by little I will share my story with you and I can only hope that it will inspire you and encourage you to live life freely, from the center of your true self (and don’t worry, my story will still include fashion, travel, and my adventures around LA). I digress.
Funny thing is… the day of my last blog post was the beginning of the end. The last chapter of that portion of my life started that day and it ended in May. Since May, I have been loved back to life and it has been an amazing journey that I will be forever thankful for. What is to come is real and raw, and it’s dark at times; but it ends with so much light.
ONCE UPON A TIME…
My opinions weren’t fully my own. They were these tainted versions of the way I saw the world and the people around me. I judged the books I read, the news stories I heard, and the actions of others by the scale of a man and his opinion of any given situation.
I took every ounce of free will that God gave to me and chose to place it into the hands of another human. Or monster? That one is debatable.
Truth was a word that I avoided. It wasn’t a place that I wanted to visit and it surely wasn’t something that I lived by. I hid so well from my truth, that it took 32 years to find me. But once it found me, it pierced my soul so deeply that living it became my passion and my focus. It began to fuel me in ways that I can’t even put into words.
Life became clear, love became real, friends became true. Forgiveness, reconciliation, mercy, and grace were experienced. Authenticity actually meant something to me. Secrets were no longer allowed.
The life that I lived was a direct reflection of the choices that I made. I chose to give up freedom. I chose to deny truth. I chose not to reflect God, but to reflect man.
I am not my past.
Today… I’ve taken back my freedom, I’ve decided to let truth permeate my life, I choose to (try to?) reflect the heart of God and not that of a man. I choose my future.
“If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot - a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with that doorway? It will rush in - God will rush in - and fill you with more love that you ever dreamed.”—Eat. Pray. Love.
I know I’m late to the game but I’m completely in love with my new Chambray shirt and Ombre hair (not a good shot of the hair, I know). I also have a new love for DIY after making my blogger bag with Miss Me Jeans (I won the contest-more to come on that and a giveaway) at Lucky Fabb. Also, my fave Seattle blogger and friend, Jess Estrada from FreshJess.com - she’s fabulous!
My new drink obsession is Neuro… they are seriously AMAZING! Bliss is my favorite because of the name and the cute bottle. I’m a sucker for good packaging, there, I said it! I will be testing all of the Neuro drinks this week and writing about them so stay tuned! In the meantime, go try Bliss and be happy!
Ok, best lip product EVER and it’s under $3. Really? Yes, true story. Also, this foundation has kind of changed my life. Thank you, Maybelline, I am in love.
It’s no surprise that cupcakes are included, right? Well not just any cupcakes. I discovered, For The Love Of Sugar, a few weeks back and we have a love hate relationship. I would do almost anything for the vanilla coconut cupcake but as if that isn’t enough, each week I try a new flavor as well. Running an extra mile everyday just to treat myself weekly is worth it, trust.
My go to outfit of summer has always been a maxi dress and this year is no different. I have worn 3 this week alone! These $7 sandals from Forever 21 are seriously super comfortable and go with everything. I love being able to throw on a dress and simple sandals… it’s effortless and always looks put together. Try it!
Photo Credit: Business Of Fashion. Click it to read the story that started it all.
Until January of last year, I associated DKNY with outdated rhinestone baseball caps and baby tees (think Bebe-esque logo). Why? Because that’s the kind of brand that DKNY still was? Absolutely not! It was only because I had not really been exposed to the brand since those items were “in” (Bebe, maybe you can take a cue regarding the evolution of a brand). But that’s beside the point. I digress.
For some reason in early 2011, CBS agreed to feature me on a live morning show to talk—fashion, what else? In the midst of my research for the segment, I came across several articles featuring the top Twitter handles to follow in fashion. Three names seemed to stand out over and over. At first I thought nothing of it. What does a brand rep from NYC that is “tweeting” have to do with me, a girl in Richmond, Virginia? I would soon find out: a lot!
The stories of @dkny, @bergdorfs and @oscarprgirl began to intrigue me. They were not just a brand; they were personalities, with stories to share and conversations that were fun to join. They were witty, insightful, and they actually respond to normal people like me all the way in little Richmond, Virginia.
I joined this Twitter thing, never expecting it to become part of my daily life, but it seemed fun. At the very beginning of my Twitter days, I came across a tweet about Lucky Magazine’s FABB conference. I did not realize it then, but I was incredibly “lucky” to be one of the first to get in on this amazing event. One thing led to another and I found myself in NYC having a convo with none other than Erica AKA @OscarPRGirl. She dished out tips on branding, fashion, and life in the city that never sleeps. Cannon (@Bergdorfs) was also in attendance at FABB and I got a quick “hello” but she was busy running between the event and the store! Needless to say, after this event, I became THAT much more aware of the power of Twitter and what these “brands” actually had to do with me. Aliza (@DKNY) was still anonymous at this time so a personal meeting was not an option. Although, I did ask Erica if she knew this fabulous Twitter personality. “Yes, she works in my building—you should just tweet her!” Tweet her I did, and she—to my surprise—tweeted back?! Needles to say, I no longer have the same view of DKNY. I know it’s long past the rhinestone logo days and well onto amazing pieces worth obsessing over. Hello cape dress?
It’s been just a little over a year since I joined this Twitter world that at times can seem more like a community. Some are like extended family, always supporting me, while others are like friends, dishing out advice on everything from fashion to tech. Then, there are those that I can always count on for a good laugh! I have met so many of these “strangers” in real life (or should I say, IRL?) and I never would have had the privilege of making these friends and connections without Twitter. People who don’t tweet, still don’t get why I take pictures of my food, care about what attire @dkny thinks is acceptable or why I got so exited by a tweet that included #IETT from the legend herself (my ultimate Twitter moment I must say). But that’s ok! If you get it, you get it.
Without Twitter, (specifically: @bergdorfs) I would not have known who Linda Fargo was nor had the chance to say hi to her outside of the Chanel fashion show in Paris. I wouldn’t have realized the power of a top knot or Bikram yoga (thanks @OscarPRGirl). And last but not least, I would not be in LA living out a dream had I not found the book Secrets of A Stylist by @SashaCharnin.
One year ago, I was the shy girl researching Fashion for a TV segment in Richmond, VA. Doing pulls from a local mall was big for me even though it may have been nothing to anyone in the fashion world. That local mall and my newfound Twitter obsession had nothing yet everything to do with each other at the same time. Last September, I ended up co-judging Project Style for Fashion’s Night Out at that same local mall with Alexis Bellino of The Real Housewives Of Orange County and Richmond’s coolest DJ, Melissa Chase. I am now a brand ambassador for Shoptopia. I’ve attended a school for styling in Hollywood . Lately, I’ve been assisting stylists on photo shoots (oh, you know, just Ali Lohan and Lucy McIntosh to name a few), had the privilege of attending FABB AGAIN, I’ve received personal advice from Brad Goreski, and the list goes on! There have been so many amazing opportunities it’s unreal. A dream come true or should I say, coming true. It’s not easy and it’s not always perfect but I’ll take it! Just thinking… Had I never looked into this Twitter thing… No—I can’t even go there! Oh yeah and I guess I owe you a little thanks too, @jack! :)
How has twitter impacted your life? I would love to hear!
I am a sucker for anything that combines fashion and learning! I can’t get enough of the conferences, classes and seminars, I always leave with new friends and a notebook full of new ideas. So naturally when I heard of the Simply Stylist seminar at the W Hotel in Hollywood (which in itself is a fabulous enough reason to go) I knew it was an event not to be missed.
Black and yellow was the theme of the day for me. I always choose to wear a dress that stands out when I attend these events. People tend to remember me easier and… hey, standing out in a sea of fashionable people is quite hard to do! My outfit is featured on the Simply Stylist website, if you are feeling kind, you can vote here.
Lunch was… lite? It’s Hollywood, I should have expected it. Yummy, indeed but I’m so not a salad girl! Networking with new people is always one of my favorite parts of these events. At lunch I met lovely fellow stylists, bloggers, and even a few fellow School of Style grads! Check out their fabulous blogs:
Although the entire panel had some great words of wisdom, here are my favorite pieces of advice that I took home with me that day!
I’m disheveled and I own it - Brenna
Do your job better than anyone else no matter what it is - Brenna
Take a picture, it’s so much more honest than a mirror - Brenna
Have a centered life outside of work - Jeanne
Be as positive and as happy as possible, always laugh. Keep going and it will pay off. - Jeanne
Do an idiot check (3rd check) - Jeanne
Being bitter gives you wrinkles - Jeanne
90% of successful people is because of hard work not raw talent - Jeanne
Always be a first rate version of yourself - Catt
I picked up this amazing product after the seminar, Glam Glow Mud. Can you see the difference in my hands? The one on the left is so much smoother and brighter… I was sold on the spot! This stuff is the real deal!
After taking Class 1 with School Of Style and learning the business of styling (see my experience here) I decided to take it a step further and learn the ropes of being a personal stylist. This class was held in the “Darkroom” at smashbox studios, Hollywood and taught by the fabulous, Lauren Messiah. Chic, no? Lauren is not only an experienced personal stylist, she is also an ambassador for Westfield Malls, Kohls and a part of:Style For Hire with Stacy London. Pretty impressive stuff! Not to mention her website, LaurenMessiah.com is beyond any other stylist’s website I have ever seen. On that note… go check it out, she’s the real deal!
Class is in session! Really, who wouldn’t want this to be their classroom? I met so many fabulous fashion lovers and learned so much, if you have an interest… take the class!
Why personal styling vs regular editorials, celeb styling, and red carpet?
The experience is more one on one and you are able to help someone feel better about themselves, which betters their life and THAT, is something money can’t buy. What girl doesn’t just love a makeover story? Imagine being a professional makeoverer (I know, it’s not a real word but it sounds cool) as your job? It’s like, What Not To Wear, but in real life-your life!
What do you learn in Personal Styling 101?
Benefits of Personal Styling
Building Your Website
Equipment and Supplies
Furthering Your Education
If you love fashion and styling like me, that list is about as exciting as a shopping spree! I loved every second of it!
For a personal style class I chose to stick to my typical wardrobe of black, white and a denim jacket. I’ve tried to get away from it for years but now I’m just learning to embrace it! I added bright matte lips (MAC Ruby Woo) sparkles and some winged liner.
Will you be taking the class? I would love to hear about your experience. Sign up here
This picture says it all! Brad was seriously one of the most laid back, goofy, sweet and well dressed people I have ever met! When I found out that he would be doing a book signing and Q&A at The Grove in LA, I knew I had to be there.
Basic black would not work for this event so I decided to step up my color and pattern mixing game. Out of my comfort zone but I think it worked well!
Brad is worth arriving early for. I was first in line and ended up sitting front and center (because is there anywhere else to be?). My obsession with an iced venti green tea (double the cup) oddly enough started when I saw Rachel sipping them on The Rachel Zoe Project. Which is where we all first met the adorable, Brad Goreski… him and all of his tears! But I like how Brad so boldly put it, “The Rachel issue is so last season”. It’s a Brad Brad World now… DUH!
During Q&A I asked Brad, “What is your advise for an aspiring stylist”? I wish I would have recorded his answer, but in a nut shell it was: BE THE BEST INTERN YOU CAN BE and NEVER EVER EVER COMPLAIN ABOUT BEING TIRED (his number one pet peeve). He actually took quite a bit of time answering the question and lucky me got the personal advice the night before my first styling job!
As a former personal assistant of almost 10 years, I totally adore Lindsay! She is cute as a button, sweet as southern iced tea and absolutely amazing at her job. I was honored to meet and chat with her.
Ahhh… somebody pinch me because this actually happened! I also got to meet Gary on my way out, what a night! I could not have been more pleased with Team Brad. I hope to meet these three awesome people again one day. Hey, who knows, maybe one day I’ll get to work with Brad? Crazier things have happened. And one day, I will find a Gary. If you don’t know what that means - watch the show!
Amazing, right? Something I will forever remember as I embark on this crazy journey of being a stylist. Personal advice, from Brad, himself, getting to meet Brad, Lindsay AND Gary, and a signed book? I would say: A night to remember!
Brad’s book, Born To Be Brad, is an inspirational story of being true to yourself and dreams come true. Hard works pays off and Brad is proof of that. If you haven’t already, get your copy here. And if you have read it, let me know what you think!
When my bestie came to visit me in LA, finding a television show taping to attend was priority! And what better than Fashion Police? I mean really, Joan is the funniest person alive, I love Giuliana for a million reasons, George is just too sweet, and I have been wanting to see Kelly’s hair in person… like forever. Which by the way is GORGEOUS on her, I judge no more. Girl can rock it.
I don’t know if I have ever been more stressed out about finding exactly the right thing to wear! Sitting in front of a cast who judges ensembles as a living is a bit of an intimidating thought, no?
The Scene: NBC Universal studio. Call time was 8am, yep… Fashion Police is filmed that early and everyone on set look perfect. They must have had A LOT of COFFEE! No video’s or picture taking was allowed while the cameras were actually filming so my shots aren’t great but they work. Fashion Police is taped on Tuesday and aired on Friday night. It was SO HARD not to tweet spoiler alerts! But I was a good girl! :)
Jonathan Adler (LOVE HIM) here to chat about the new set he designed for the show, such a nice guy! In between takes; hair, makeup and stylist guru’s were on hand to spray, pin, powder and provide sips of water to the hosts. I got to see the fabulous, Lauren Shane in action which was quite thrilling. I love the styling work she does on, Giuliana!
They passed out these badges to the audience. Cool, right? I’m now an official, Joan Ranger! Along with badges, Melissa (Rivers- executive producer) passed candy around and kept us on a sugar high to make sure that we were loud and crazy for the entire taping. It’s quite exhausting to do so much clapping, screaming and laughing that early, but well worth it to be a part of the show! I can’t wait to go back.
A gorgeous night at The Grove in LA was just the start of a fabulous night hosted by two of my favorite ladies in fashion.
Nail art, lemon drops, and candy colored hair… who wouldn’t have fun?
Say Fromage! Goofing around in the smile booth with fellow bloggers.
A packed party. Everyone came styled in brights, spring fever has set in! My must have from Gap this spring? These red pants that Katherine was wearing… so cute!
Ok, seriously, I don’t freak out around celebs (well Bradley Cooper would be another story) but, I got so excited to meet Katherine that I don’t think I said anything except: Can I get a picture with you? Duh… where did my brain go? I adore these ladies for their genius work of Who What Wear. I have been following the site since it started, since before I knew what a “blog” was. And Katherine, if you happen to read this I had planned to tell you all about the time I used a “What Was She Wearing” post for inspiration during a styling contest and… I WON. That contest made me fall in love with fashion all over again and it’s the reason I’m here doing what I’m doing today. So THANK YOU! And sorry for acting like somewhat of a crazed fan!
I got this shot with Hillary as she was trying to leave and she was so sweet to stop and pose with me. Note to self: Hair half up makes you look a bit alien-like in pictures and eyebrows disappear under fluorescent lighting. Anyway, I digress… I managed to blurt out a sentence or two about how much I love that their site is fashion sans gossip and that I was glad to meet them. Again, acting like a bit of a crazed fan! So sorry, Hillary! PS - I loved your bubbly personality.
Once I did discover fashion blog, this adorable (and TINY) little blogger, Dulce Candy @DulceCandy87, was one of the firsts I followed. Her Youtube videos are always helpful and she has such incredible style. She was SUPER sweet in person, so glad I got to finally meet her in person! Follow her amazing blog for style tips and inspiration.
I met up with new friends, Jessica @thestylefront and Elizabeth @lizzybeth1234 at the event. We met during School Of Style in Hollywood just a few weeks ago. You can see my School Of Style post here.
I think I managed to actually say Thank You before I left, but I’m not totally sure! Either way… I was a bit star struck! Side note: How amazing is her leather jacket?
I know you will be wearing brights this spring so pick some up at Gap and find out how to style them on WhoWhatWear.com
Oh and there will be a contest for who styled their bright ensembles best. If you would be so kind, you can vote for me here.
I have read every book that I could get my hands on written by stylists, every blog, conference, live streaming… you name it. The last book I read, Secrets Of A Stylist by Sasha Charnin was by far the most helpful and insightful tool of all. I took notes on that book like it was my job! But really I had no job, what was the next step to take for someone who has no experience and can’t intern because most internships are in exchange for school credit. I’m not in school therefore nobody is going to give me an internship. So I googled “How To Become A Stylist” and I found this site for: School Of Style.
I had never heard anything from anyone about this school so I turned to the only outlet I know for this sort of thing- TWITTER! I tweeted Sasha and asked her if she had heard of the school. She hadn’t so I tweeted her the link and handle (@SchoolOfStyle) she checked it out and said it looks like a legit place. I love twitter! Where else can you just pick the brain of a stylist/author/fashion director of US magazine? I was told by someone in the industry that if you seek help in this industry by those that “get it”, those that have been in your shoes and made it, they will help you. So far it’s tried, tested and true!
Above: Smashbox Studios
I found myself at the amazing Smashbox Studios on Saturday morning ready to learn! Coffee (how cute is the Smashbox sleeve?) in hand, seat in the front of class, here goes nothing…
Luke is a GREAT teacher, he’s so much fun and so full of knowledge! Side note, his laid back Cali attitude and vocab may or may not have something to do with the fact that “Dope” and “Capish” are injected into my conversations from here on out.
I’m not going to give away the class but I will tell you that I learned everything from what THE LETTER is (see… don’t you wanna know?) to the important part like, how to actually get the job! Secrets of the trade like: industry lingo, how to do a pull and Lauren’s fav: How To Get Fired, had my full attention. I loved absorbing it all! I’m ready to show up at a job and feel confident enough with the knowledge I got from class.
After completing Class 1 all students are added to the graduates list; which means I’ll be receiving emails for job openings. It’s my “in” to the industry because we all know… It’s who you know that counts!
Above: Luke and Lauren Teaching, Students, Outside the studio (Hollywood) and what’s in my bag
It was like the books that I’ve read actually came to life! I learned so much and seriously cannot wait to get back to class and learn more. The location is amazing, the class is fun, and the people are great. So you want to be a stylist? Here, let me help you! www.theSchoolOfStyle.Com Follow them on twitter (duh) @SchoolOfStyle
Next week is is February already, almost a month has passed since we decided that 2012 would be the year for situations to change, goals to be reached, and dreams to come true. There’s nothing like a fresh start, new beginnings hold so many promises. Or do they?
Yes and no. New beginnings don’t only come around on January first. Fresh starts aren’t only for Monday. Each day is a gift, this life is short, don’t wait for tomorrow. It’s just another excuse. Dreams do come true, but as the product of hard work, sacrifice, determination, persistence, and dedication. In the midst of everyday life, it’s easy to lose a dream. Something you once held onto with dear life slowly starts to slip away from your grip. Being replaced by the daily grind: work, bills, kids, commitments… it’s all too common.
Life is busy, but you can still hold on!
Schedule a time each day that you can focus on working towards your dream. Whether its a blog post you’ve been meaning to write, an email that needs to be sent, or a phone call that has to be made. JUST DO IT. One foot in front of the other, little by little, day by day, and the pieces will soon begin to come together. The hard work will pay off, the sacrifices will be in the past, and you will be living your dream rather than just dreaming your dream. Daydreams sound nice, but they get you nowhere. Real dreams hold real potential. Hold on, with dear life at times, just as long as you never let go.
Each day brings with it a plethora of emotions, a to do list (whether large or small), and opportunities. One might say that the day not only brings opportunities but also obstacles. This depends on how you choose to look at it. I choose to see each obstacle as an opportunity. One door closed only means another will open. Unless you fight it, complain about it, and settle for it. C’est la Vie
Oh how I love twitter! I follow @LorenRidinger (and you should too) and when she tweeted about a contest for a trip to Miami, I not only instantly entered but I tweeted it to my friend Amber @AMBitiousPRGirl and told her to enter too. Having forgotten all about it, I was walking by her desk several days later and she yells, ” I WON”. What? No way? Yes, she did and we were Miami bound! Honestly, we had no idea what to expect, all we were thinking was: It’s January, we’re cold, Miami is HOT. And Loren will be there, duh!
What we saw right when we got to Miami. We just realized that our boots and jackets were no longer needed. It was snowing in Richmond, when we left!
We checked into the Whitelaw Hotel, a boutique hotel right Collins Ave. It’s a block from the beach, situated smack dab in the middle of shopping (dangerous) and good food (even more dangerous). The rate was insanely cheap, we thought that the website must have been fibbing a bit. Nope! It was gorgeous. Free Wifi, a shuttle to and from the airport (which we missed and had to hop on a bus to the hotel and it quickly became our means of transportation for the trip), beach towels, and a fun beach bag. If you are planning a trip to MIA anytime soon, I would highly recommend it!
Our first morning we woke up early, mapped out how to get to the event by bus (I wasn’t kidding) and headed to Loren’s event, Market America. When we arrived at the American Airlines Area, we were escorted through the VIP entrance (got a peek at Loren’s dressing room) and to front row VIP seats. Among us? Eva Longoria and Serena Williams to name a few! Our favorite part of the day was the Chinese New Year Celebration!
1. Chinese New Year Celebration 2. The Stage 3. All glammed up waiting for the bus 4. The essentials: ma pass, bus pass, and hotel key 5. Our seating
Ps- Getting ready in that kind of humidity is no easy task!
What’s a visit to Miami without the beach? This was only a few steps outside of our hotel room, heaven, right? Well, until that huge jelly fish stung me! Amber had to unwrap it from my foot. Now that’s a friend. As you can see, our white legs needed a tan!
We did the touristy thing and went to Espanola Way for some dinner, don’t judge. Dash was right behind our hotel so of course we had to peek in. $10 for a bottle of Kardashian water, no thanks! I ran on this trail that led to the beach each morning, I could stay in shape if this was my daily view! Breakfast at News Cafe is always fun for people watching, but my favorite was cafe con leche at, Puerto Sagua. A puerto rican restaurant frequented by JLo.