Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Creating Success Through Personal Style


Design Your Life : Creating Success Through Personal Style is the name of Rachel Roy's new book. It's a fashion guide and biography (without pics) offering Rachel’s real life experiences and fashion advice to help women develop personal style and manifest a life with intention.

You might recognize the name if you've been following the internet rumors from Beyonce's lemonade. This 5'10 Californian of half Dutch-half Indian heritage has styled many celebrity clients including Kim Kardashian and her dresses have been seen on Michelle Obama. Her fashion line can be found at Macy's including a plus size collection. I loved her personal mantras in her book, I got so many great practical tips! It reminded me of Nicky Hilton's book where I wasn't a fan of either before I read the books, but if you're trying to transform your personal style you should definitely pick up their books. Rachel's 200 page book is crammed with helpful tips  for women to use as they build a closet full of clothes (or maximize the one they already have) on the way to becoming the best version of themselves. 

Here are five of my favorites tips:

1. Confidence Makes Your Look Good
I truly believe in what Rachel says that, "clothing and personal style can affect how you feel about yourself and therefore how you treat yourself, thus fashion plays a major role in self-esteem and the type of energy one gives out.We do better when we look better because we feel better. Confidence makes everyone look and feel savvy, powerful and alluring beyond words. How we dress affects the way we believe in ourselves and hold ourselves and as a result profoundly impacts how others believe in us as well. So especially dress the part at work."

What she's saying is that it's not that you need to own a lot of clothes or expensive clothes, but rather you need to know how to dress to flatter your body shape and how to accessorize your outfit. When I look at pictures of myself 10 years ago I thought I was fashionable then, but really my outfits were so plain. And even now while I feel I have mastered the evening look, I don't quite have my casual weekend look down. I only started wearing fashion scarves a couples years ago and still rarely do it. Rachel says, "scarves can instantly up the sophistication factor or completely change the look of any outfit." I feel I need help establishing a distinct personal style to help me look my best because I know I feel better about myself when I have the confidence that I have it all together. I'describe my style as effortlessly chic, simple, beautiful, feminine, and a sophisticated working woman.

One of Roy's favorite outfits to wear is a suit which she wore to Kim Kardashian's wedding. You'll have to read her book to find out why she walked a red carpet in her pajamas. lol She says that everyone needs to own a jumpsuit and leather leggings as they look great on everyone and doesn't go out of style. 

2. A Vision Board Can Help You Identify Your Personal Style
Like me, Rachel is really into vision boards, see mine hereShe says, "it gives you goals to work towards every day with a constant visual reminder of your aspirations which are motivating like the law of attraction. Our goals and confidence are expressed not only in what we say but also in our posture and clothing choices and jewelry choices." I also have pinterest boards for fall, summer and work outfits. It helps me shop my closet for ideas with old pieces to see how things can mix and match. 

3. Dress Your Best on Weekends
Nikki and Rachel both say to never run to the grocery store looking sloppy. Rachel suggests you put together a couple go to weekend outfits for the days you have to run errands and don't want to think about what to wear. By dressing the way you want to be thought of and treated, you're inviting that respect and admiration into your life. It's true, fair or not, you are treated how you look.  Rachel says, "when you feel comfortable, you project confidence. When you leave your house I'm a firm believer that it's important to present the sharpest, brightest, best version of yourself - whether you're shopping for groceries, it doesn't matter. Always channel your highest version of yourself.   With a little thought, you can put together a few exquisite weekend uniforms that are flattering and comfy on your day off." 

I never wear flip flops I think they're so unfashionable and Rachel does too. She says, "unless you're getting a pedi leave the flip flops at home. Get some laceless slip-on sneakers. They are modern and youthful and make comfort look as it should:easy." So I went out and bought myself a pair of European rose gold sneakers. 

4. Dress Up for Casual Get-Togethers

When I throw parties in my home I love setting the mood with decor and themed food. I take a lot of time creating my idea for the party, even if it's an intimate get-together. Thus, I dress up and politely suggest to my friends they should too. lol Well I loved reading Rachel saying, "when invited to someone's home or party, I consider dressing respectfully to be just as important as bringing the host a gift. I always consider all the energy of the host put into planning the festivities and I try to match that effort into my attire. I take to heart that the host spent time preparing a space or a meal, or creating an experience for me, and I want to reciprocate the effort and energy in every way I can. One way to try to match that is by putting through into how I present myself. I personally like having the option of being slightly overdressed versus being underdressed, because I'm more likely to project confidence and poise when I err on the side of formal as opposed to casual."

5. Items You Need In Your Closet
Rachel recommends using a clothing steamer over an iron. I have a steamer that I take with me on vacation but never thought to use at home. Rachel says, "When steamed, clothes look the way they're meant to because they hang the way they're meant to drape on your body as opposed to being flattened and pressed against an ironing board. Backstage at runway shows we use steamers as do retail stores."


 Rachel recommends to save and invest in timeless well-made accessories as  it will make you feel your best when balanced with your outfits. You're wearing your personality. I threw out half of my costume necklaces with my recent closet purge. Rachel says, "Accessories are the details that truly convey that a woman cares deeply about how she is perceived and who she wants to be." 

On the topic of sunglasses, Rachel says, "There's nothing cooler than a pair of sleek aviator shades. They are undeniably fashion consistent and flatter everyone." I bought a pair of purple RayBans on my last trip to New York.  "Designer labels and perfectly tailored pieces look exquisite on the outside but their real value is their ability evoke the wearers sense of self-worth and spirit." With that in mind, I invested in my first designer dress, an orange sheath by Diane Von Furstenberg.

"If you can't be better than your competition, just dress better." - Anna Wintour 

Related Posts:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Play! by Sephora Subscription Box Review


Can I tell you that I love subscription beauty boxes! Paying a nominal fee and getting luxury sample sizes in the mail is a nice surprise!  Sephora recently started it's first monthly beauty box only available in a few markets and there's a waitlist for it. For $10 a month you get six sample sized products and a large booklet containing product info. In the past I've gotten Ipsy boxes, the Allure Box, and Birchbox but ultimately ended all of those as they weren't a good fit for me. I love shopping at Sephora, in fact check out my Sephora wishlists here and here, so I figured I would love this monthly box of products by brands I know and can easily find in their store. This month they included all of the samples in this adorable drawstring bag. The booklet indicated that this month's theme focused on products with natural ingredients. 


I know some people don't like getting perfume samples, but I keep them in a ziplock bag from all my subscription boxes and now have a large range of scents to choose from when I go out. I bought one bottle of perfume 9 years ago and it's still not even half way through so I don't like to commit to entire bottles of perfume. Samples are perfect for me as I don't wear perfume to work and wear less of it in the warmer months. I absolutely loved the orange scented perfume included in this box! I only wish it was in a spray container, not twist off lid.

This month's box came with mostly brands I've used before:
  • 2 Origins facial masks and an Origins Maskimizer Skin-Optimizing Mask Primer
  • KORRES Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial
  • Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick Sample in Kimchi 
  • Tarte Tarteist Lip Crayon 
  • Atelier Cologne in Orange Sanguine
  • Briogeo Deep Conditioning Hair Mask

I'm a big Origins fan and highly recommend their masks. The Tarte Lip pencil in the color latergram was a very flattering color on me. The Bite Beauty lipstick in bright pink reminded me of MAC Flat Out Fabulous.
I definitely plan on using the hair mask soon.

Overall I'm happy with this box and found a couple new makeup items I can't wait to use.  I already spend a lot of money at Sephora and this box provides a useful try before you buy money saver. What do you think of Play! by Sephora? I'd love to hear your thoughts!



Friday, May 20, 2016

Shop My Closet


Last week I did a major closet purge read about it here: 6 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home. I had a week inbetween jobs and really enjoyed my staycation waking up without an alarm but still keeping my workout schedule. Then last weekend was jam packed with fun events! Friday I went to a rooftop happy hour when the weather was perfect. Saturday was the European Union open house tour and I visited the embassies of Ireland, Latvia, Romania, Croatia, and Poland. After all that walking I came home and took a nap. Then went to an afternoon birthday party that went late into the night at multiple locations. Sunday evening met up with friends for drinks. Then on Monday an old friend from Australia that I went to Spain  with was in town for just one day so we went out late that evening.


Anyway after doing a major closet purge I started researching my local thrift stores and found out there's a lot of rules to selling, you have to make an appointment to do so, they only take summer clothes right now, and most said they don't take Bebe clothes which a had quite a few pieces from. For every birthday and NYE the last few years I've won a dress once that I will never wear again. So I listed all my Bebe dresses on a site called Tradesy. Their buying and selling process is super easy! You can shop my closet here. Happy shopping!



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How to Style Mint Pants



Mint is my new favorite color. I painted my bathroom this color and I love nail polish in this shade (Zoya Neely).  I'm starting to embrace clothing in mint. I purchased a pair mint chinos from the Limited and have been looking for ideas on how to style it. You can also find a pair at Old Navy and the LOFT but don't see the color online. I think it will be a great clothing piece for spring and summer outfits. I've found that mint can be very versatile, you don't just have to pair it with a black or white top. You can also mix florals, stripes, purple or navy with mint pants.
via wendyslookbook.com
via outfitposts.com



Monday, May 16, 2016

Celebrity Book Club


Here are six books written recently by celebrities. My last book post was coincidently on books written by supermodels. 



Has anyone seen my pants? Colonna, Sarah, 2015, 288 pages
Sarah is best known from Chelsea Lately and also does standup comedy. In fact, after reading this book I took a couple of my girlfriends to see her show when she came to town and she didn't disappoint. The book is a look at Sarah's single life as a woman in her late thirties. Although financially secure, having great friends, and a great job, Sarah seems to have a problem when it comes to male companions. This is a book that looks at the funny side of relationships and the search for the one true companion. The book is super funny, witty and enjoyable to read, hence I finished it in a weekend. I could relate to the part where she constantly has to remind restaurant servers that she's single, you know because it's so imperative that they remove the other place setting if no one else is joining you. Spoiler:
She's getting married to a Seahawk!






My fight : your fight Rousey, Ronda, 2015, 302 pages


As the UFC's charismatic first female woman fighter, Ronda Rousey has rocketed to MMA stardom, but make no mistake about it the road to success was paved with blood, sweat, and tears. Lots and lots of tears. Ronda is also an Olympic medalist in judo and a Hollywood star as she was in Sylvester Stallon's movie The Expendables 3. 
Each chapter is short and easy to read, and begins with a little bit of that wisdom and knowledge gained over years.

Her story starts out with the painful loss of her father when she was eight years old and details the intensity of her judo training. She talks about struggling with an eating disorder, a depressingly natural consequence of spending her life trying to attain an unnaturally low weight. She talks about her rotten ex-boyfriends who treated her like crap while giving them amusing nicknames as a creative way to avoid a slander lawsuit by avoiding their real names.
She was someone that was living in her car working three jobs to get by while breaking boundaries for women for when she finally landed a Strikeforce fight that paid a lot more than what she'd been making.  I had to cringe at the descriptions of fights in this book. Since I had never seen a fight of hers I looked them up up on youtube and you can't tell by watching that she dislocates elbows with that arm bar. At the end of the day she's a badass and there were places I found it surprisingly easy to relate to Rousey's life. She had an undefeatable fight record until her fight with Holly Holm, here's a video on her reaction to that on the Ellen show.


LA Reid - Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who's Next, 2016, 400 pages

LA Reid, was the co-founder of LaFace Record Company, President of Arista Records, and then President Def Jam Records where he partnered with Jay-Z as an Executive where everyone dressed up for Halloween at work, and then later President Epic Records. He explains that his influence to be a judge on The X Factor is that he wanted to be wanted to be well known as he had only worked behind the scenes and on the first show the audience only clapped politely for him even though they went wild for Paula Abdul, another artist he worked with in the past. He has written hit songs for many artists. And worked with many of the top stars in the industry including Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Kanye and shares stories of each experience. He also discovered artists such as Usher, TLC, Toni Braxton, Justin Bieber, Pink, Ne-Yo, Outkast, Ciara and Avril Lavigne. My favorite quote was what he said about Jay-Z, "he is never late for anything, ever. He is a man who respects himself, others, and time. He is a man of integrity."  If you're a fan of 80s and 90s R&B music and have an interest in how the music business industry works you have to read this book. I haven't read many memoirs from men, but he is so open and raw with his feelings that I absolutely loved this book and couldn't put it down. I read it every night on my kindle and finished in a week. 



Kris Jenner..Kris Jenner and All Things Kardashian, 2011, 320 pages, 


It was so juicy I read in one week and couldn't put it down.
Kris admits to cheating on Robert Kardashian in a scandalous affair with some loser. Then a huge chunk of this book was about the Nicole Brown Simpson murder as they were close friends and frequently vacationed together as families.  Kris is from San Diego and her family owned a candle store growing up which is what led to her opening a clothing store as an adult that her daughters ended up working in with her when their TV show started. This book is an interesting look at Kris, a business-savvy woman who uses what she has to become incredibly rich.  She resurrected Bruce Jenner’s career as a public speaker by creating media kits for him. She's manager to her kids and has to find a way to keep their TV show relevant on the air for so many seasons. Her work ethic seems to have been picked up by some of her children.  She does not write about Kim's tape, Khloe's arrest or serious car accident that left her injured for a year. 



Year of Yes - Shonda Rhimes, 2015, 336 pages but it's a really small book sizewise and lots of rambling

The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder. She feels she's is normalizing TV by telling stories involving women, people of color and LGBT characters.

The book chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life. Shonda describes herself as "I am awkward, introverted and visibly uncomfortable when meeting new people. I never ever wanted to do any publicity. I never ever spoke in public without two glasses of wine in my system." Then she took on a challenge in 2014 to say yes to every speaking opportunity that came her way. She called it "Badassery" - the practice of knowing one's own accomplishments and gifts. And practice of living life with swagger, which is the state of loving oneself. 

She tells one story of how when she got a man everyone was so incredibly happy for her. The praise she received for having a man "eclipsed any and all praise or congratulations or excitement that accompanied the births of her 3 adopted children and of her many career accomplishments." She says, "it was stunning that the presence of a man could make people so joyful" for her as she did not want to be celebrated for his presence. I loved that bit because isn't that the truth. If you run into someone you haven't seen in a long time, they almost immediately ask you who you're dating because that's a woman's only significance in life. 

I also love how Shonda expresses gratitude for her glam team "who bring out the better her after working on her for 2.5 hours because she did not wake up like this."



You're never weird on the Internet - Felicia Day, 2015, 260 pages
Felicia's quirky memoir is about her unusual upbringing being home-schooled for hippie reasons, her rise to Internet-stardom, producing her own web series, owning her own production company, and becoming an Internet star.


She built her whole brand online by making a web series for Youtube. She is the creator of The Guild and producer of the web series network Geek and Sundry.  The Guild is a comedy about nerds obsessed with World of Warcraft. She also leads a popular Goodreads book club. She’s also appeared in several mainstream shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Felicia used to be a gamer and there's a chapter on how she let World of Warcraft dominate her life to the point where it caused her anxiety. And was an addiction that was hampering what she wanted to do with her career. She's also not afraid to write about how awful the internet can be, from #GamerGate to stalkers showing up INSIDE HER HOUSE. Back to her childhood she tells stories of her mom driving her to meet her online gaming friends acorss state lines. While I may have nothing in common with her, it was an interesting read.




Friday, May 13, 2016

6 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home

I got a new job and had a week in between them for a staycation. On Monday my mom surprised me and treated me to a facial. The rest of the week I exercised daily, read books, and cleaned my entire condo.
It's hard to start cleaning up clutter, but once you get started it happens so quickly!  Last year I talked about the teachings of Japanese cleaning guru Marie Kondo who wrote a housekeeping manual called  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She inspired me to start folding my clothes vertically and get a better handle on keeping my home clean. While I haven't rebounded per say, I just had a temporary clutter issue caused by not putting things back in their place on a daily basis.

I read her newest book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up as a refresher course to get me back on track. Kondo says that, "Living in a clean and tidy space automatically improves your self-image and you'll find it hard to stand anything else. It can have a dramatic impact on your life. When you get down to business, it's amazing what a transformation can take place in just two days. You can do it very quickly once you set your mind to it." She advises to not buy any storage containers, she courages you to get rid of things instead of hiding them.  Here are six rules from her book:

1. Reduce the Amount of Clothes You Own
Kondo recommends you do a "joy check" on your clothes, put them on and ask yourself will you really wear them again. If no, thank the clothes for the wonderful memories they gave you. In my closet I found a lot of clothes still in dry cleaning plastic bags that got lost in my closet.  I started with skirts and shorts and now there's actually space between them in my closet which I never had before! I thought the tops would take me forever and I was really dreading it, but it breezed by pretty quick. I have a large bag to sell at my local thrift store. I got rid of all of my clubbing tops that I haven't worn in 10 years. I got rid of a lot of sequin dresses but kept the 5 sequin shirts I own. I git rid of all the clothes from Forever 21, H&M, Express, and BeBe as I've outgrown those stores. I got rid of all of my birthday dresses because let's be real, those were one time occasion dresses. Per Kondo's recommendation, I retired senior members of my bra collection. And I got rid of  most of my necklaces. Then I tidy up the top shelves in my closet, folded the sweaters nice and neat to pack them away.

2. Declutter your Office of Paper 
I have honestly never done this and had piles of paper at my computer desk. Kondo recommends to tidy by category (such as papers) instead of by room. The reason why is that "tidying by room doesn't work because people think they have tidied up when in fact they have only shuffled their things from one location to another. You can clear your mind simply by discarding all unnecessary papers. Keep the desk area relatively clear." I gathered all the loose papers I had in every room and threw most of them away and filed the rest.

3. The Bathroom Is The Most Public Space In Your House
Wow isn't that the truth, you don't want to feel embarrassed if a guest opens a cabinet. Kondo says, "Toilet related storage is where appearances matters most" and recommends storing everything in baskets.
I scrubbed the tile around my bathtub with bleach and threw away some old cosmetics. I'm going to make a better effort at putting away toiletries after I finish using them. Kondo says, "The toilet is your home's "detox area, thus it's important to keep the energy flowing through, so keep it uncluttered. Cleanliness is crucial. The ideal bathroom will have a fresh natural aroma." You can see how I organized my medicine cabinet here.

4. Make Your Kitchen Orderly 
I did a major kitchen organization last year so I'm already following her recommendations. Kondo recommends that dishtowels should be folded and stored upright. I keep mine in a shoebox which allows me to see how many I have as I change mine seasonally. She talks about storing plastic bags folded to reduce bulk. I threw away a dozen reusable bags that I don't use. As instructed, I already keep all my plastic wrap, aluminum foil, parchment paper upright under the sink. Kondo says that "cleaning supplies are only of value if they are used. If you have any in your closet that have not even been opened, open them up and use them completely to do a thorough cleaning of all the storage spaces in your home." That was eye opening for me because under my sink is a graveyard of speciality cleaning supplies that I can't even remember what I bought them for. So instead I cleaned the outside of my stainless steel fridge. A couple recommendations I couldn't follow were to throw away all my cookie cutters that I never use. And she says not to keep soap and sponges around the sink because they create water stains.

5. Make Your Entryway Tidy 
The first crucial impression of your home starts from your entryway. Kondo says, "I can tell the state of a person's closets the instant I set food in a doorway. Any home with a cluttered entranceway is bound to be cluttered throughout. It's preferable to keep as little as possible in the entranceway." She recommends to hide messy piles with baskets and boxes and dress up your entryway with something special." Here's my previous post on my entryway  and my something special is art work I've painted myself.

6. Get Rid of Your Purses and Books
Kondo got me here when she asked, "Are you still hanging on to handbags that you once used every day but have since replaced with similar ones? This is very common. For clothing accessories accept the fact that you will never use them again and bid them farewell." While I couldn't get rid of my purses, I did clean my favorite summer purple Coach signature purse I've had for 10 years that was so dirty!  As for books Kondo says, "Once a book has been read, it has already been "experienced." Take every book off the shelf and pile it on the floor. Don't start reading them." Luckily for me I borrow all the books I read from the library.

I've been using the Stylebook app for a couple years now which makes closet purging so easy! See it keeps track of what I wear and what I'm not wearing. Here's what I wore last month. I had to check my calendar to see why I wasn't wearing clothes on April 17 and 24. lol Turns out on the 17th I went bike riding with friends in Great Falls park so I was in activewear all day. And the 24th was a stay home and chill day. I do no clothing repeats in a month to make sure I wear my closet. It also makes shopping easy because I can check my closet from my phone to see if I really need a pink sweater or how many do I already own.


"The relationship I have with my closet has always depended greatly on the condition I keep it in. It's so easy to let things get out of control, to shut the door and hide the mess. I know that when my closet is chaotic I feel less confident in its contents. That dreaded feeling of "I have nothing to wear" usually stems from the anxiety created by an unorganized scene.  When I stay on top of this, I'm able to find what I need, look the way I want to look, and project the image of that woman I aspire to be." - Rachel Roy



         Shoe closet                                            Jewelry storage                        Nail polish display

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Target Finds

I stopped by Target on Friday and wanted to share some of the new finds I saw there. First up office supplies in gorgeous colored hues!

I've talked about my favorite green cleaning company Mrs. Meyers before, well Target had her new scents Peony and Lilac. I bought both! 

Target also had Method (also a green company) hand soaps and dish soaps in this pretty designed bottle.


As a fitness enthusiast and non-plastic bottle user, I'm always interested in alternative materials for water bottles. See my water bottle collection here.

I've been wanting to get myself a rose gold S'well water bottle but the $42 price tag has stopped me.
See the S'well bottles are made of stainless steel that keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. Target has partnered with S'well  for a new collab called S'ip by S'well for $25.

When I took Barre classes the popular water bottle sold and used at the studio were bkr glass bottles which retail for $35, well Target has identical plastic bottles for a fraction of the price.


I love throwing parties and having pretty tableware so I was impressed Target was carrying such pretty plates!

When Target announced it was doing a collab with Marimekko, I thought for sure it would sell out like it's collab with Lilly Pulitzer, so I was shocked to see fully stocked shelves with their clothing! I still use the Marimekko towels I bought from Crate and Barrel 9 years ago.

If you want to get your hat game on for summer, Target has both Panama hats and floppy hats.

I loved this yellow plaid shirt !  

Need a blouse for work, they got you covered there! 

In the food section, I spotted Hint water which is fruit-infused water has zero calories, no sweeteners, and no artificial flavors. This was the first time I'd seen their sparkling water line so I picked up some to try. 

I've been consuming non-dairy milk since high school. A friend of my turned me on to this cashew milk which I couldn't find in Safeway or Whole Foods so I was super excited to see it at Target!

Target also had all the new Amy's frozen meal flavors. Amy's makes vegetarian frozen meals and snacks. From their new line, I recommend the Artichoke & Parmesan Swirls, Broccoli Cheddar Frozen Soup, Chinese Noodles & Veggies in a cashew cream sauce. My all time favorite is their Country Cheddar Bowl which is priced cheaper at Target than Safeway or Whole Foods.

Target also had my favorite Barefoot Wine in every flavor and alcohol-free wine.



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