Happy Mother’s Day!

Call Your Mom Cup

Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous moms out there 🙂

Only a parent can truly understand the sacrifice and support that goes into loving someone unconditionally, and a mother has the special power to show you how to be beautiful inside and out.

I make it a point to thank my mom for being amazing and to let her know that her strength and passion has paved the foundation for me and my sister to grow into confident, independent women with big dreams and ambitions. I know I should show her my appreciation more often and I hope she knows that all my hopes and accomplishments are because she first believed in me.

If you are fortunate to have your mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, or daughter please take a moment to connect and share your love with them. Celebrate them. Cherish them ❤

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Inspired Post: Sequins & Stripes Blog On What Is Important

{Check out the inspiration for this post: the amazing Sequins & Stripes!}

January 2014 is winding down. We’ve almost made it through, surviving the first real snow storm of the season, and now it’s time to reflect.

A show of hands: How many of you have made some sort of resolution, goal or plan for the year? Come on, don’t be shy! I commend you for having the courage to review your life and evaluate what could be improved, what changes need to be made (for health, happiness, success) and most of all, what is really important.

I arrived at the end of 2013 with a whole lot of life choices to evaluate; missed opportunities, second guessing my abilities, shortcomings, limitations. I made a promise to myself to recuperate the strength and energy so I could approach the new year very strategically. I realized I have a lot to “work on” (sigh) but I also have the potential and guts to achieve greatness–I can make it happen. Holla!

It’s scary to look into yourself and look at your life for what it really is. Sometimes you need to enlist the help of family and friends to help you put it all into perspective. Once you get past the ugly fears, you will feel lighter, liberated, like the fog is lifting and for the first time in a long while you can see all the colors of your life. Oh, how beautiful this view is!

Now that you can see things more clearly, your vision will become so vivid that you cannot ignore it. Don’t just look behind or ahead. Look all around you. The more you take in, the easier it will be to see the paths laid out before you. The better you can discern all the signs and how they make sense in your journey.

This post from Sequins & Stripes inspired me to really, truly consider what is important to me during this time. Check it out. Think it out. Write down what you didn’t get to achieve last year, why you didn’t follow through and what consequences this caused. Then think about this year and what is important for your life (including what is important to let go). Let that be your priority. Identify, very specifically, what it is you want this year and then focus on each item. What kind of time, money and effort will it take to achieve (i.e. losing weight, buying a house, going back to school and etc.). Not sure where to start? Do the research and seek advice from friends and professionals.

The only way to make progress is to face each goal head on. Make a plan, write down each step and milestone, follow your timeline and budget and ask those you trust to help keep you accountable. For me, I get so excited about the big picture that I can actually overwhelm myself with all the details at once. BITE SIZE. Break it down into parts that make sense to you and tackle it every day. Procrastination can stem from laziness or fear. Laziness or lack of passion and motivation could indicate that this goal is not that important to you (if you really want it, you will not make excuses). Fear or doubt can cloud your vision and make you focus on potential failures instead of success.

Here are some inspirational quotes to give you that kick in the booty. Save them as your phone or computer wallpaper so you are constantly reminded of the great things you will achieve!

XOXO Liz Signature

ShopStyle: We Search. We Find. We ShopStyle!

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Personal style. Everyone has it. To me, style is an opportunity to express how you feel or how you want to feel.

Well, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to express my personal style by partnering with the POPSUGAR Select team and participating in the ShopStyle We Search. We Find. We ShopStyle. advertising campaign.

ShopStyle is an innovative and chic way to search all the hottest trends and items so you can cultivate your own style story and purchase these items immediately. ShopStyle is like your best shopping friend: they will hook you up with $ale alert$, editors’ picks for inspiration and gift guides to take the stress out of shopping for others.

If you’re getting your holiday shopping on, you need to download this free App!

In fact, you may have already seen the print or television ads, such as this one:

The print ads feature a lay down photo of products you can find on the ShopStyle website to curate your dream wardrobe:

ShopStyle Print Ad

My inspiration for creating my lay down comes the from the journal shown in the photo, which reads: Dream Big. Sparkle More. Shine Bright. 

This concept truly reflects my outlook in life and has a strong influence in my approach to style. I live for detail, color and sparkle.

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The experience was crazy fun! I did a DIY photoshoot and employed the help of my ever-so supportive boyfriend to be my photographer for the day. The lay down concept is awesome, but as a “model” I’m not sure it captures my best angles 🙂

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The lay down arrangement is like a mood board that tells a story of my wardrobe wonderland. I love classic silhouettes to honor my curves and I feel the right accessory can give every outfit polish and shine. Honestly, one can never have too many baubles or sparkly shoes. I also adore makeup and perfume–these touches make you come alive.

For my ensemble, I chose to pair darker, edgier details with the “We Shop Style” t-shirt that POPSUGAR provided for the photo shoot. I was feeling a little retro glam meets punk-chic but still sweet with my plaid Hello Kitty style bow and matte red lips. The rest of the items are more festive and whimsical, like a dream. I felt like was popping out of my dream closet!2013-11-29 06.11.57 2013-11-29 06.11.39

Below are a few links to the items in my lay down photo. I’ve had some of the items for a few years, so if something is listed without a link it is most likely because the item is no longer available (or I was unable to locate a link elsewhere). If you are inspired by these items, you can check out the ShopStyle website or app to score your version!

Clothes:

NY & Co. creme and gold/champagne dress

H&M white embellished peplum blouse

Ann Taylor Loft creme/champagne zebra pencil skirt

NY & Co. leather moto jacket

Mossimo dark grey denim leggings

Shoes:

Nike Roshe Run sneakers

H&M hot pink pumps

Nine West Caress round toe gold glitter pumps

Payless Brash cream/champagne rhinestone ballet flats

Accessories:

Kate Spade Terrace Justine bow bag

Michael Kors Black and Optic White Selma Saffiano Satchel

Michael Kors women’s rose gold chronograph watch

Forever 21 red and black hair bow

BaubleBar emerald crystal drop earrings

BaubleBar sapphire crystal drop earrings

Prima Donna fashion jewelry

Mossimo Supply Co. fedora hat

FRENDS rose gold Taylor headphones

Charming Charlie white mix master bracelet

Journal from Marshalls

Makeup:

Sonia Kashuk silver glitter makeup brushes (limited edition 2011 holiday set)

Sonia Kashuk matte limited edition “The Red Lip–Matte” lipstick

MAC Cosmetics Hello Kitty beauty powder in Tahitian Sand

Essie nail polish in Ballet Slippers

See by Chloe eau de parfum

Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture eau de parfum

So, what do you think? Want to see more? Check out other lay down photos and ShopStyle inspirations on Instagram by following @ShopStyle and search #WeShopStyle.

XOXO Liz Signature

The Art of Being Thankful

Keep Calm & Gobble On Courtesy of Cherry Blossom Tree Designs

Keep Calm & Gobble On
Courtesy of Cherry Blossom Tree Designs

Happy Thanksgiving! What a difference one year makes. This time last year we were dealing with the aftermath of Sandy (thankfully I only lost power, Internet access and some of my sanity, sigh), trying to buy our first Christmas tree (a real one!) for our first apartment (a bigger one!) and just trying to muddle through the rest of the year.

I can say that I have a very long list of things and people I am thankful for and each year just keeps getting better. To you, my friends and family–thank you for making this year pivotal and fulfilling.

We each have our own way of expressing gratitude and humility. I call this the art of being thankful. There is no minimum or limit when it comes to thanking someone. Sometimes it’s just a simple smile and acknowledgement that warms the heart. A hand written card also goes a long way 🙂

Here are a few highlights of my first truly adult Thanksgiving, complete with first time cooking a turkey and things that make this holiday such a joy for me. I will be updating throughout the day and hope you are having a fabulous day giving thanks ♥

XOXO Liz Signature

Surviving a Manic Monday & Other Uplifting Thoughts

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It’s Monday. Again. My beloved coffee press has to break before 7 AM. Is this a bad omen?

Not necessarily. One might say it’s a matter of perspective. For instance you might be at work right now, at a job that you either hate, couldn’t care less about or perhaps you are incredibly fortunate and are living your dream. Boy, do I hope you are experiencing the latter.

For the rest of us who are still searching for a career vs. a job, something with a purpose and perhaps a few perks…please read on!

What do you do when you work full-time and feel drained, emotionally and physically? You’re thankful to be employed at all; perhaps you know the feeling of instability and uncertainty that comes from being unemployed or stuck in the temp-to-hire cycle. Do you spend every possible moment that hasn’t been sucked out of you to rest (a.k.a. retiring to a quiet spot to stare at the shadows on the wall) or even sulk? Or do you dedicate whatever time and energy you have left from the day to find inspiration or inspire others?

I have to admit, when you fill up your schedule trying to make the most of each moment and opportunity, you may feel fulfilled and accomplished but you can easily become exhausted trying to balance the “day job” alongside the pursuit for your “dream job“. Even more so–If your day is dedicated to projects or obligations that do not capture your creativity or do not have a meaningful connection to your passion, you are well on the path to becoming disengaged and in some way, a shell of yourself–going through the motions to get things done, make the money, pay the bills and do it all over again (darn you, $tudent loan$!).

Enough. I’m learning how the negative energy that arises from being in a rut or a slump just breeds more energy-sucking negativity. I firmly believe that when you are dedicating your life to something with substance and meaning to your soul, the energy you put into your work will regenerate you, not deplete you. It requires determination, courage and strength to stop the cycle and reclaim control over your life path. Yes, you are in the driver’s seat and you better believe there is a destination and destiny that is far greater than the road blocks you might be facing lately. Embrace it. Own it.

What do you to find inspiration and how do you keep the momentum going once you find it?

I believe it is imperative to surround yourself with a core group of family, friends and colleagues who respect you, your dreams and your struggles. This group should be a source of support and motivation and they should also dole out tough love when you need it. I also believe it is key to embrace your community and be an active contributor to it. There are so many causes that could use your support and that’s a great push to get “out of your head” and focus on things much greater than yourself. Giving your time and effort to others and to improving your community benefits you in so many ways. It’s kind of like sending positive energy out into the universe and getting some of that right back.

I think the hardest part is putting yourself out in the world so you can take advantage of all the opportunities that you can’t find sitting at home or at your desk job. These opportunities may not always be what you expect. They could be lessons on what not to do, who not to trust. But learning these important lessons can save you a lot of time and heartache later on. This part is hard for me at times because it can make me feel vulnerable. But it is in these raw, honest moments that you can experience the most fulfilling and life-propelling moments and meet the right people who can help you on your mission. 

Yes, I believe your skin needs to be thick if you want to make it in the ‘real world’ and the more you expose yourself to challenges and rejection, the savvier and more shrewd you will become. But be open to the opinions of your core group of support, they will know you best and therefore have the most concern for you and will help keep you grounded. Having a thick skin does not mean you need a heart of stone, or that you need to be cynical or ruthless. Remain humble, no matter how great your success or failure.

I’ve gathered a few of my favorite inspirational quotes, thoughts and advice in this slideshow. May these nuggets of wisdom spark the flame of your passion and help you find meaning in who are and what you do : )

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Here are a few of my favorite career entries found on The EveryGirl. The stories behind these amazing women will certainly kick your motivation into gear:

BRIKA FOUNDERS JENNIFER KOSS AND KENA PARANJAPE

SELF MAGAZINE SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR STEPHANIE MILLER

CECILIA WONG OF CECILIA WONG SKINCARE

XOXO Liz Signature

You Will Never Look Like The Girl In The Magazine…

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You will never look like the girl in the magazine. The girl in the magazine doesn’t look like the girl in the magazine. – Jessimae Peluso

I read something inspiring the other day and wanted to know your opinion about it: Huffington Post published an article in their Style section titled, “Verily Magazine’s No-Photoshop Policy Proves It Can Be Done“.

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The article discusses the female-operated magazine’s mission to it keep it real by not relying on Photoshop and other techniques to “artificially” enhance the appearance of their models.

From Verily Magazine’s Web site:

Like so many great ideas, Verily was conceived over a gathering of friends for brunch in NYC. Our conversation turned to the topic of women’s magazines–more specifically– how most of them fail to reflect our lives or our philosophies as women. We were a diverse group of women, hailing from all over the country and working in professions as varying as fashion, medicine, and philanthropy. We had gone through the learning curve of our first jobs, navigated life in a new city, and been on more first dates than many of us would like to admit. If this group of modern women were all feeling overlooked, surely others must feel the same way?

I thought this was pretty neat and encouraging to other women and celebrating the authenticity in our beauty.

What do you think?

XOXO Liz Signature

Express Grand Opening Party & Jessica Sturdy from Bows & Sequins

2013-10-03 19.04.24{Yours truly with Jessica Sturdy, style blogger of Bows & Sequins…we match!}

I had the honor of meeting Jessica Sturdy, style blogger behind Bows & Sequins last Thursday at the Desk-to-Dinner shopping event with InStyle Magazine  and Grand Opening Party for Express at Madison and 51st in NYC.

Jessica was so sweet and we talked about how she started her blog and some of the exciting projects she is working on. I asked her some style advice questions and I wish I could take her shopping with me because this lady has an amazing eye for style.

The theme of the event was Desk to Dinner. How to take your professional work attire and transition this into night life. Think about the blouse/pencil skirt combo and adding a leather jacket and a long chain or trading in your denim for leather pants.

The newly renovated Express had a club-vibe and there were hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, mini makeovers and of course special discounts for purchases made during the event. I wore a fancy Express top (black and gold lame) with a black blazer, skinny dark denim and leopard flats. After all, I took the whole desk-to-dinner theme literally by adding the blazer and walking from work to the event. I wore my Bows & Sequins inspired necklace my sister gave to me (from JewelMint) in honor of the hostess.

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{My Bows & Sequins inspired necklace from JewelMint}

Upon entering the store I took the atmosphere in and immediately recognized Jessica. I introduced myself and we got to talking. She recognized my top because she also owns one and she got the reference from my necklace right away : ) Jessica took me around parts of the store explaining the outfit she wore and some of the displays she styled for the night. Not only was I a bit star-struck to ask this style guru my questions, but I was ecstatic that Jessica was so open about her blogging, career and encouragement to me and my dreams.

I’d love to share some of the highlights from my convo with Jessica:

Highlights:

Dressing to Impress:

Jessica will also be attending this year’s Lucky FABB in NYC! She went last year and said the speakers were amazing and the networking you get to do is priceless. She said the energy was high and the gift bags were fabulous. She was excited when I told her I was going for the first time and I asked her what a beauty or fashion blogger should wear to an event like this.

Jessica’s advice: Wear something that is honest to who you are and comfortable–both in fit and style. This is the event where you can wear anything that expresses your style, but you don’t need to feel like you have to wear something wild to stand out. Her lesson for me was that she wore pants to last year’s conference that weren’t tailored and she did not feel 100% comfortable in them and it can show in your body language and pictures. At a conference like Lucky FABB, you can’t afford to be uncomfortable in your ensemble–you have to focus on feeling fabulous and enjoying the moment (and taking the most Instagram-worthy selfies ever).

Fall Trend Alert:

I asked Jessica if there was one thing we should pay attention to this Fall, be it a print, color combo or cut. Jessica took me over to one of the displays she styled for Express and explained that she is currently feeling Camo (yes, it’s back!) to mix with more refined pieces (i.e. camo shirt with blazer and skirt for work). She also loves the incorporation of leather details like piping on skirts and of course the slew of moto-style jackets that are in practically every collection–classic and adaptable bad-ass chic style. For colors indulge in black and white; gold and black.

Expressing Your Style:

If you have checked out Bows & Sequins (do so right now if you haven’t) you know that Jessica displays her outfits of the day (OOTD) with candid with the city as her backdrop. I asked her how she felt about taking these pictures out in the open where passers by are sure to gawk out of curiosity. Jessica agreed that especially when she started blogging in Chicago, that the idea was a little frightening to her and that she had to be creative in how she got the pictures taken (now she has the assistance from friends and photogs, but before that she had to rely on self timers and quick poses!). Her confidence comes from loving what she wears and having fun with expressing her style choices.

Now she is more comforatble about the street style pics, even if a small crowd forms near her shoot. After all, that’s New York for you. The sidewalks are our catwalks and we are all models and photographers.

Passion Advice:

I am so grateful to Jessica for giving me her honest advice about how I can manage a not-so-dream job and the pursuit of the ideal career path while juggling a blog and passion that requires whatever remaining time and energy you have. Basically, you have to stick to your guns, take advantage of every opportunity you have and surround yourself with the right energy to keep you grounded and humble.

For all my fellow bloggers, whether this is your “hobby” or your career, you have to put in the hard work and allow yourself to thoroughly enjoy the fruits of your labor. And for those of you who feel like you’re not that important or not that big of a deal: Jessica has come a long way from sharing outfit pictures to hosting events and being an ambassador for brands. She didn’t get there overnight and she still has those pinch-me moments where she can’t believe the opportunities that have blossomed from her blog. But most importantly, she does not take it for granted and she appreciates her supporters.

Bottom line: If you have subscribers, fans or followers you have source of support and admiration from people who celebrate you and look forward to what you have to share. So keep on sharing, creating, writing and designing. There are millions of creative people in the blogosphere and the more variety we have the more we have to celebrate.

For more pictures from the event, search for #EXPStyle!

XOXO Liz Signature