Friday, January 30, 2015

Exclusive Chat with fashion designer Tara Brock

Our first exclusive chat features a mom, wife, student, & business woman, who has lived the career most of us only see in movies!  

Q:  What did your job entail as a fashion designer?  

A:  As a fashion designer (which can also be titled as a merchandiser)  I worked at a few companies, the last one was called Mallory and Church and there I worked on designing the following neck wear lines: Private label for Bloomingdales, Izod, Perry Ellis, Private label for Philip Van Huesen, and Private Label for JC Penney.

Q:  Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
A:  I decided to become a neck wear designer after college when I discovered I did not care for being a Buyer, as that consisted of more accounting then creativity.

Q:  What was your favorite part about being a fashion designer?
A:  My favorite parts about being a designer were the creativity aspect as well as the relationships I built with the Department store Buyers.

Q:  How do you stay up to date with fashion?
A:  I stayed up to date with fashion buy looking at the Couture and High end designers, as well as traveling to forecasting shows in Italy and Paris.

Q:  What was your inspiration for creating your designs?
A:  The inspiration for my designs come from several venues.  They were: women's fashion, archives of old neck wear designs, paintings, nature, and current trends.

Q:  What advice do you have for future designers?
A:  The advise I have for future designers is to be opened minded in regards to new technology, always be willing to learn something new, be humble and seek advise from those with more experience than you.  If possible find a mentor in your specific field.

(photographed by

Thank you Tara for sharing your experiences with us!


#Fashionblogger @2StrongGirlsCM

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hair Extensions, How I Love Thee Bellami

I remember telling a friend I wanted a straightening iron, about ten years ago. They laughed saying my hair was pin straight already, and had no idea what I was referring to!  A krimper was the only similar device known at the time.  I explained it adds a smooth shiny finish, and low and behold, it is now a staple item in a girls vanity haha.

Whenever I see friends I haven't seen in a while, I hear "your hair is soooo long!" Maybe they are really saying, 'girl, you need a hair cut!'  Who knows!  I may have long hair, but it is flat! I have always sought after voluminous body in my fine slippery hair!  Bleach definitely added texture, but flat is still flat.  Many girls get extensions for length, but I got them for volume.  I started with the Jessica Simpson clip-ins, and although I really liked them, the synthetic hair matted up and the sheen looked unnatural.  I chalk it up to having nothing else to compare it to at the time.  They didn't blend that well, but I did find the Jessica Simpson HairDo Bump Up The Volume and Ponytail extensions to be my favorites.  Aside from a wedding or dark night club, overall, the synthetic clip-ins just didn't work well on me!

I knew I didn't want to get permanent extensions.  That is an oxy moron.   What I mean is, I didn't want glued, sewn, or beaded extensions, knowing my hair mats up like a wet dog, and I wanted to be able to brush it at the roots.  In the summer, I especially wanted to be able to get washed out by a wave, and have a scalp full of sand and knots and not have to worry a bottle of condition won't fix it.  I rarely get my hair cut, so there was no way I wanted to spend money consistently replacing professionally 'installed' extensions.

I read a lot of reviews, and saved up, and decided to get the Bellami extensions, which are known for staying thick root to tip, without thinning toward the ends.  They are made of remi human hair, which means the hair strands all face the same direction so the follicles line up and fall naturally!  I debated between the 20 inch and 22 inch.  Oh, the debate!  I went back and forth for a week!  Ha!  At least now I look back and laugh.

I went with the Bellissima 220g 22', and love them!  I have washed them, dyed them, cut them, curled them, straightened them, and they are wonderful!   They blend beautifully!   No one ever believes I have them in once I mention it. Before purchasing, you can send a picture of yourself in natural light to the customer service team, and they will help you choose a color, which I did!  I went with Dirty Blonde.  Upon receipt, there is a small 1 clip piece you can unwrap and hold up to your hair before opening the entire package, at which point a return is not an option.  Including one of the 1-clip extensions as a test piece was a genius idea!  My Bellamis came with 10 tracks of hair (two 4-clip tracks, two 3-clip tracks, two 2-clip tracks, and four 1-clip tracks). I never wear all at once, so these will last me years to come!

Bellissima 220g 22'' Dirty Blonde (18)

I dyed the ends of one set pink, and then got them cut into my hair, while wearing for a fuller more natural look.  The other tracks remain unaltered, besides being curled and straightened as I please!

(the pink ends are noticeable in both photos)

Now that the Lilly hair extensions are out, I probably would have purchased them for even more volume, but I still highly recommend the Bellisima extensions.

See my previous blog post on who inspired the Bellami Lilly hair, Lilly Ghalichi here:


*All products mentioned were personally purchased, and not sponsored by the company.

Twitter: @2StrongGirlsCM

Monday, January 26, 2015

Anastasia - Eyebrows & Matte Lips

Whether scarce or bushy, V-shaped or comma shaped, 
eyebrows create the focal point of your overall look.  

Even if you have full youthful brows, shaping them can change your face for the better, framing it to enhance your features and create a more pulled together look!  I tried eyebrow powder and gel in the past, and got back into pencil over the past year or so.  As far as pencils, my favorite that stays put all day is the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow wiz, but wait, there's more.

After careful consideration, I purchased the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade.  I want to add in that I mainlyuse drug store makeup, and I'm not a makeup collector, nor do I dabble in experimenting with the latest and greatest products released.  I honestly could never keep up if I tried!  I just use what I like, and stick to it.  That being said, this purchase was a game changer, as in for my game face!

(Color shown is Blonde.  photo courtesy of

In the beginning I liked it okay, but now that I know to overdraw the top line, my brows are on point all day and all night! Holla!  I chose the shade Blonde, and I can create either a rounded look, or sharper sleeker look, darkening the outer edge as well.  The Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade is not like the shadow gel combination sets I have tried either.  I use my own brush, and it's so precise.  It glides on just enough, but not too much that it's easy to smudge and make a mistake.  I go from looking like I just woke up to ready for a night on the town or a day at the office in a few brush strokes!

I want to state that my eyebrows are shaped completely different, one is straighter, and starts at a different point above my eye, whereas the other has a higher point and starts further in.  This is why I avoid waxing.  Ah!  What's a girl to do?  To master a closely matching set, I use Anastatsia's Dip Brow Pomade, and shade from light to dark, the darkest point being the outer edges.  Shaped brows can make the eyes appear more open, larger, and awake!

(Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade & Younique  Moodstruck 3D Fiberlash Mascara)

No one ever asks me what I use on my brows, they just comment how good they look! I purchased this at Ulta, and had to wait because the color 'blonde' was never in stock once first released, but it can be purchased online as well.

Anastasia and Claudia just released a line of liquid lipsticks!

(photo courtesy of
19 colors have been released, with the 20th color Bambi releasing any day now!
They glide on like a highly pigmented liquid lipstick with a lip gloss applicator, but dry fully matte, for extra long wear!  They have a color that suits every skin tone and style preference.  I don't buy many new lipsticks I want, because I end up with so many I don't use, but I cannot wait to try these!  I'm already loyal to the brand based on their eyebrow products, so they've won my trust.  Although I love many of the swatches I see, and the formula is probably amazing, I have so many similar shades that the colors I want most are Milkshake, Pure Hollywood, Lovely, and Bambi!

(photo courtesy of

The liquid lipsticks can be purchased on the Anastasia Beverly Hills site or (not in store).

Check out youtube Jaclyn Hill's video linked below to better pick your shade.
Thanks Jaclyn for the details!


*Products mentioned were personally purchased and not sponsored by the company.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fashion Magazines

I love fashion magazines.  There's something magical about all the work and the behind the scenes effort that goes into the creation of something so concise, conceptual, and beautiful.  Yes, fashion magazines are beautiful.  If they weren't then the fashion world wouldn't be nearly as concerned or reliant upon them.  Sadly, paper copies(aka hard or real copies) are losing popularity against e-copies.  For the record, I have absolutely nothing against e-copies of fashion magazines.  It really is the same thing! However, the hard copies are so much more luxurious and appealing to read.  Or at least that is my firm, and awesome opinion.  Fashion magazines are filled with glossy pages of pictures and articles.  Yes, the same content can be read on a computer, tablet, smart phone, etc but something is lost in translation.  Flipping the page and running your finger down the satiny finished pages is lost when paging down or swiping on a touch screen.  In my opinion, there is something beautiful and mesmerizing about real fashion magazines.  Opening the thick copy of Vogue's Fall Fashion issue gives me butterflies.  It's timeless and a tradition in my life to curl up and completely immerse myself in a dream land of couture whilst flipping the pages.

I subscribe to a few. Currently I receive Marie Claire, Elle, and Vogue.  In the past I have gotten In Style, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Lucky.  Now that I'm a mom I don't have the free time to read and admire the glossy pages of fashion magazines nearly as much as I used to.  Thanks to Pinterest, the Internet, and other forms of social media, I can follow trends and fashion relatively quickly and easily.  This doesn't mean that I don't still appreciate fashion magazines though.  Right now I am very behind on my reading!  It's almost embarrassing.  There are probably 12-15 magazines in this stack that I haven't gotten to read yet.  Yes, some of the trends are probably already over but I hold onto the magazines with faith that one day I will still get to read them.

By the time I get through this stack of magazines my daughters will either be wearing the trends as they come back or they will be reading them next to me.  We'll have to see which happens first!  Sometimes I feel like the oddball who is still reading paper copies of magazines.  Maybe I'm a bit old school or behind on the times when it comes to my fashion magazines but I am perfectly content with that.  Anybody else feel the same way?  Where do you get most of your fashion updates these days?


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*Photos are courtesy of the blogger

Friday, January 23, 2015

.em Michelle Phan Creamy Color Matte Lipstick Review

I totally admit to being an impulse shopper of beauty products and makeup.  Over the last few years I have tried to rein in that impulse but it's something I will probably always struggle with.  How can I not with so many great products constantly being developed?!  Anyway, right before Christmas I came across .em by Michelle Plan Creamy Color Matte lipstick on Amazon.  I'd never ordered makeup on Amazon but the .em packaging had me instantly sold!
The packaging really spoke to me.  The lipstick tube is covered in "em" words such as embrace, empower, embellish and esteem.  It was something I could see myself designing and I felt connected to Michelle Phan, the creator.  For anyone who isn't familiar with Michelle Phan, she became famous from her You Tube makeup and beauty tutorials.  She is also one of the ipsy creators and now has a makeup line.  I ordered the .em lipstick in "bachelorette."  On my computer screen it looked a little more cranberry than it really is.  I have a couple other similar pinky/purple colored lipsticks but that's ok.  I didn't mind much.

I initially tried the lipstick without liner or lip primer.  I try and avoid extra steps whenever possible.  With two young kids, I have to save all the time that I can! The lipstick goes on super smooth and creamy.  It feels amazing to wear and absolutely does not dry out my lips.  The color is very vibrant and lasted a good couple of hours.  It wasn't as matte as some of the other matte lipsticks out there but it definitely was not glossy either.  
Here's a quick photo of me wearing it.  It's not a great picture but you get an idea of the color.  My only complaint is that it feathered after awhile.  It definitely needs to be worn with a good lip primer and/or lip liner.  I would buy this product again but don't wear it as often as I wear some of my other lipsticks since there are additional products and steps involved.  

Anyone else tried .em products?  I am curious about the rest of her line now too.


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*The reviewed product was personally purchased and this is an independent review.  
*Photos used are courtesy of the blogger.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pampering your pits

In an attempt to start switching my cosmetics over to chemical free brands, I started with my pits last year!  I started at Sephora, and for $14 purchased The Healthy Deodorant by Lavanila laboratories (vanilla lavender), 100% natural with no aluminum and no parabens.  It definately kept me smelling fresh.  I wasn't fond of the smell of the deodorant, but it worked!  What it didn't do was keep me from sweating!  Pit stained shirts are no good, even if I didn't stink!

Next I ordered Primal Pit Paste, organic all natural, in 3 sample sized containers, Unscented Strong, Lavender Regular, Kids in Orange Creamsicle.  Primal Pit Paste runs about $10 for full size and comes in a stick, but I tried the containers with wooden spatulas.  Since it is high in baking soda, I got a rash with each use.  Otherwise it worked well, but wasn't right for my body. They now offer a pump spray deodorant I would like to try though.

My favorite, which I have repurchased is Schmidt's natural deodorant (fragrance free)!  Although it is not an antiperspirant, the plant powders keep me dry and odor free.  Schmidt's comes with a tiny plastic spatula.  Say what?  The mini spatula is used to scrape off some product, and I use my fingers to apply a pea-sized amount.  I thought this would deter my repurchase, but now it's part of my routine, and just adds an extra finger washing to my morning routine (shower, apply lotion, rinse fingers, add deodorant, wash fingers with soap, brush teeth, do my biggie)!  I held onto my normal drugstore deodorants to use in a rush, but I haven't touched them since trying Schmidt's.  Schmidt's has been my favorite deodorant, and I even scooped some into a little plastic container to travel with, since the large size is glass!  Schimdt's is thicker than the Primal Pit Paste and needs your body heat to melt and rub on, as opposed to the thinner Primal Pit Paste, which doesn't even need the spatula.  The Schmidt's consistency is like Coconut Manna (coconut butter) if you are familiar, and you need to scrape it before picking up the daily amount with your fingers.   I'd love to try some other 'flavors' of Schmidt's, but since the containers are quite large, I'll stick with what I like!  Schmidt's Fragrance Free is my go-to deodorant, and I haven no reason to try others or change brands in the future. Schmidt's retails for $9, but I always seem to find a promo code available!

Leave a comment on your experiences with chemical free products you love!

To read a more detailed review, check out blogger Sarah here:

Purchase here:


*All products mentioned were personally purchased and not endorsed by the companies.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Vbeauté SkinCare Line

You may find me in the wrinkle cream aisle of CVS by day, and getting carded out on the town at night!

At the ripe age of 30, I felt like I aged overnight.  I noticed my face changing right in front of my very eyes!  It was only then that I realized the amount of skincare products available for, dare I say it, anti-aging!  I'm at that in between age where I want to prevent my skin from signs of age, while still maintaining my youthful look.  My skin is the largest organ of my body, and I want to treat it right!   Most importantly, I don't want to add unnecessary chemicals into my body through my skincare products.

In 2013, I attended Dina Manzo's (from RHWNJ) Goddess Night Out Project Ladybug fundraiser, which gives back to families of children treated for serious illness.

                                                 Theresa Guidice and me (11/11/13)

The event was wonderful, and the gift bag received contained some sample products from Vbeauté, a Swiss company I had never heard off.  The sample pack came with 4 tiny bottles.  The Evidence Eraser Oil Free Facial Cleanser was the first thing I tried and I loved it!  Of course the few droplets given allowed for only 2 face washes, but I was impressed with the smooth, clean finish.  The Undercover Agent Anti-wrinkle serum was nice, but would have to be used for a longer period to form a true opinion.  I enjoyed all 4 samples, but decided to buy what I actually needed at the time, and that was facial lotions for my suddenly aging face!  I purchased the 2 that I tried in sample size, Eye Never Eye Creme and Buying Time Everyday Creme.

I didn't use the products for a while, but needless to say, once I opened them they became my daily regimen.  I am almost out of my Eye Never Eye Creme, and would definitely recommend it!  I actually noticed a reduction in the lines around my eyes and would definitely repurchase this item.  My lines still appear when smiling, but when expressionless, there was a noticeable difference within less than 1 month!  I was pleasantly surprised I was able to notice the difference! I applied it with my ring finger, and let's get real when in a hurry my middle finger.   It is recommended to use the ring or pinky finger since they are the weakest fingers and will not pull the sensitive skin around the eye area in excess.

I used the Buying Time Everyday Creme directly after as an all over face lotion, focusing on my other lines.  I personally thought the Buying Time was too greasy of a formula for my combination skin type, with the grease residue appearing mainly on my forehead, therefore once it is used up I will not repurchase.  It also may have contributed to the breakouts I got often that I never normally got beforehand.  It wasn't so bad that I stopped using it, but overall it didn't work for me.  It also has a slight lotion odor, where as the Eye Creme is odorless.

In most cases, I used both cremes twice daily, morning and night, and they have lasted many months.  There are so many facial products brands to choose from, but I am glad I tried Vbeauté.  Vbeauté is a vegan, gluten free, paraben free, fragrance free, nut and oat free line, made for all skin types.  They also retail for about half of what other brands do, as I estimate most high end facial care products at almost $100 a pop, so these are more affordable and less harsh in ingredients.

When repurchasing Eye Never Eye Creme , I will also try a full size Evidence Eraser Oil Free Facial Cleanser.


*The Vbeaute products mentioned were personally purchased and are not sponsored by the company.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Puffy and Tutu Skirts

Lately I have seen a huge influx of tutu, puffy, and tulle skirts in magazines and on social media.  I haven't seen as many in stores but I am hoping they are catching up on the trend and more will be available soon.  I fully admit that I have always secretly, and not so secretly, loved full, puffy skirts.  In fact, the fluffier the better!  There is something so fun and whimsical about twirling a skirt and feeling it swish around your legs.  I gave up full skirts for awhile.  I felt that A-line or pencil skirts suited my figure better.  However, I secretly missed my puffy skirts.  A couple years ago I did a photo shoot in a vintage dress with a full skirt.  Even though you can't see the tulle underneath, it had that extra layer of puff that awakened my former adoration of tutu skirts.  I've been hooked again ever since!
Here is a picture of me in the dress that restarted it all:
This photo was done by Flash Forward Photography.  After this photo shoot was over I knew I had to find more full, tutu skirts.  It took awhile... A couple of cross country moves, having my second daughter, and other general busy-ness got in the way of the search.  And I admit, I kind of forgot...or put puffy skirts on the back burner.  When I started seeing tutu and tulle skirts creep onto Pinterest, Flickr, and into magazines, I was very excited.  Over the summer I had the opportunity to go to Betsey Johnson's yard sale.  YES, you absolutely read that correctly and I will be telling you more about it in another post coming soon! I love Betsey Johnson.  I love everything about her aesthetic, her spirit, and her spunk.  If you know her designs, you know she loves tutus and I knew I had to get a Betsey tutu at her sale.  And I did!!!  I also got this adorable magenta, lace, twirly skirt.  Both the tutu and the twirly skirt have been living in my closet since July.  I've been too nervous and admittedly, also too intimidated to wear them...until today.  Today I attended a baby shower for a dear friend and I knew it was a perfect occasion for the magenta twirly skirt. Erin snapped a photo:
It's hard to tell from the picture, but I am wearing navy tights and booties with this outfit.  The top is from Marshalls and the necklace is from Forever 21.  Also, if you remember last week's post, I am currently loving the royal blue trend and this outfit also encompassed that obsession.  If you didn't read it then you can do so here. I really loved this outfit and can't wait to wear it again when it's a bit warmer outside.  I love that the bottom of the skirt has wired ribbon that helps hold is shape and give it extra volume.  

In fact, I loved wearing it so much that I immediately came home and checked some of my favorite online retailers and social media to order a skirt that is more of an actual tutu or tulle material skirt.  I came across this beauty on Chic Wish and placed an order:
I think this will be cute with a Tshirt or easy to dress up with a crisp shirt and pin or scarf.  I hope its as full as it appears in the picture.  I like the ribbon detailing on the bottom and think black will be easy to work into my wardrobe. 

What are your thoughts on tutu style skirts?  I feel happy in tutu style skirts.  They make me feel feminine, whimsical, pretty and flirty all at once.  It's important to wear what makes you feel good and that's definitely how I felt earlier today in my Betsey Johnson magenta skirt.


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*Photos used in today's post were courtesy of Flash Forward Photography (with permission),, and the blogger.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

SHAKEOLOGY: Shake, shake, shake, shake your booty

Have you heard about Shakeology?  What's all the rage about anyway?

So I heard about it early last year, but I didn't find it necessary because I was making fruit smoothies in my blender anyway.  I was so wrong!  I'd do strawberry, banana, greek yogurt, and maybe spinach or kale.  I pretty much ate about 2 servings of vegetables a day.  I definitely was not getting the nutrients my body needed to keep my metabolism going, and keep my organs running optimally!  I thought I would try the Shakeology variety pack, and bought the 24 serving variety pack which had chocolate, vanilla, & strawberry packets, so I could see which one I liked!  I ordered the Home Direct package, which ships you a new bag (or packets) monthly so you don't run out.  I only did this to get the lower price, & since ordering guarantees you a 30 day money back guarantee even with an empty bag, I figured I'd give it about 2 good months and cancel before the next month's could be shipped.  I was told to try it for 3-4 weeks to really feel the difference.
I felt fine, so I sorta rolled my eyes.
This isn't a shake with water type of shake.   I blended almond milk, fruit and ice.
I made them really thick with a lot of ice, so it was like a milk shake!
I made chocolate peanut butter cup, chocolate banana, chocolate strawberry, then I tried vanilla blueberry, vanilla mocha, orange creamsicle, snickerdoodle, pineapple coconut, then strawberry banana, strawberry blueberry, and before I knew it I only had a handful of packets left.

That's when it happened!  I felt the change!  I felt the extra energy it gave me!
I didn't  have anymore afternoon crashes when I was sitting at my desk around 2 or 3pm.  I didn't NEED a snack between breakfast and lunch when I had my Shakeology for breakfast, and my stomach didn't growl out of hunger.  Shakeology held me over until noon even!  Some days, I drank it at 3pm, or post workout in the evening.  I have a sweet tooth so whenever I really craved ice cream, I'd make a chocolate peanut butter banana Shakeology instead.

Shakeology is more than just a meal replacement,
and here's a breakdown of what makes it so Ultra Premium:
*increases energy
*reduces junk food cravings
*improves digestion and regularity
*helps with weight loss

Shakeology is not just a protein shake.  It is more than a meal replacement!  It contains antioxidants, and probiotics!  It is not like those other ones out there.  It's the smartest calories you can put into your body! A lot of shakes are just made for protein, and other meal replacements have artificial flavorings and chemicals.   The fact that I pack Shakeology and a mini blender in my suitcase every time I travel, even when that means I have room for 1 less pair of shoes, proves how much I love it!

packing list:  snorkel....check!  Shakeology....check!

It contains 70+ vitamins and super foods!  It is my Daily Dose of Dense Nutrition!

Who doesn't love to feel energetic, fit, and fabulous?  

I have had Shakeology every day for 8 months!
Needless to say, I never cancelled, and now get the 30 day bag supply.
It also comes in Vegan Chocolate & Vegan Tropical Strawberry.
It costs $3-4 a day, which is a small price to pay to feel energetic enough to do the things I used to be too tired to do, and know I'm keeping my body healthy!
Shakeology actually saves me money because it saves on snacks and has replaced my multi-vitamin too.  It's still just part of my grocery budget, since I took out all those boxes of 6 granola bars and crackers here, and multivitamins and Vitamin C there, because I don't need those things anymore with the 70+vitamins and exotic super foods that my body needs that are already in my daily Shakeology.  Shakeology is priceless to me because I know I just don't have the time or money to cook plate after plate of vegetables!  I blend and I'm out the door!

I would only suggest something I truly love!
Even my family switched from morning chocolate and powdered donuts to Shakeology for breakfast and don't miss a day!

The value it brought to me is not something I ever expected!
With a 30 day money back guarantee, ya got nothing to lose, except maybe a few pounds!

Here's a 1 minute video about Shaekology:

Save more when buying through me.  Find it here:
Me on the way to a promo gig this past summer to keep me full!
(greenberry flavor)

Saturday morning                                    a day at the office

With a 30 day money back guarantee, ya got nothing to lose,
except maybe a few pounds!


 *All products mentioned were purchased with my own money.
(Ryan Gosling may or may not like Shakeology.)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

My current obsession is royal blue

Hi Lovelies! I hope 2015 is treating you well.  Lately I have been incredibly obsessed with the color royal blue.  It seems that the trend is actually referred to as "Cobalt" blue however; I prefer royal.  Royal just seems a little more, well, distinguished to say and hear.  I have been pairing royal blue with a lot of grey and am very much embracing the color.  For years now, I have been a huge fan of the color pink so it feels a little disloyal to be liking another color so much more.  I can't help it!  There's just something about royal blue lately that draws me in.
A week or two ago I pulled a royal blue sun dress out of my closet.  It's freezing outside so I knew that if I wanted to wear that dress, and did I did, then I had to work layers in.  The dress was happening because royal blue needed to happen.  It's from Forever 21 and I paired it with thick patterned tights, boots, and a warm, thrifted, over sized cardigan sweater.  I belted the sweater with a yellow belt to help make the royal pop since it was mostly covered with the oversize cardigan.

A few days ago I painted my nails in shades of blue and grey.  Coincidentally, my cozy outfit that day matched exactly.  It was bitterly cold outside, with a high of 15 degrees.  Fashion had to wait and I gladly wore my warm, PINK sweatshirt dress and royal blue fleece leggings with comfy Uggs.  The nail polishes are all by Julep.  And as a side note, I should probably have given them more credit than I originally did.  The polish lasted for three days without a top coat before chipping and the colors were so rich and vibrant!  I was originally unimpressed but now I am the opposite- very impressed!

Then it was a royal and black cheetah print sweater from Forever 21 with more fleece leggings, Muk Luk boots, Betsey Johnson bag and a headband turban from Forever 21.  Yes, I am holding my 4 year old's "fancy fan."  She insisted and since she was the photographer, I had to oblige.

And fast forward to last Wednesday.  I got my hair cut and was, of course, wearing a royal blue sweater.  Are you sensing a trend?
Yes, those sunglasses are a bit silly but I love them.  I like my new haircut too.  What do you think?

And finally, I loved royal blue so much the past few weeks that I bought royal blue boots.  I took a chance ordering off eBay.  Normally I insist on trying all shoes on prior to ordering but these were inexpensive and I figured that if my love affair with royal blue doesn't last long, then at least I am not out a lot of money,
The boots are by bamboo and notice I am wearing the same thrifted sweater and belt.  

Am I the only one loving royal blue these days?  I love that jewel tones are so popular right now.  Emerald green, garnet, deep amethyst, and royal blue are some of my favorite colors to wear.  I think jewel tones compliment most skin tones and hair colors and I hope this trend stays around awhile.


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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Role Models & Boots

I have looked up to this woman for many years.  I have read her book, watched her interviews, and definitely followed her fashion.  Although she is known as an exemplary role model for the modern day business woman, her class shines through both in the board room and while modeling a bikini.  There is something about the way she carries herself, speaks, and the patience and professionalism she embodies that draws me to idolize her.  Any word she speaks is specifically chosen and purposeful, bringing value and nothing extra nor unnecessary.  If only I had known what The Wharton School [of business] was when I was busy recording Green Day onto my cassette tape in the 90s, I would have applied.  Yes, her life is extravagant, but that doesn't mean it's easy to have a family and work full time.  She doesn't settle for her luck, and I envy her ambition to expand her business stature even greater into fashion, writing, blogging, as well as real estate.  I'm sure her publicist posts for her, but I love the fact she cooks for her extended family and posts her recipes for me to try.  Her blog includes articles about a wide array of topics.  It currently features #WomenWhoWork, showcasing the multidimensional lives that strong females passionately lead.  I hope to meet her one day.  Have you guessed yet?  As a fellow female entrepreneur, what would I ask with one hour with Ms. Ivanka Trump?

My intrigue only grew last winter, when I tried on a pair of black suede over-the-knee boots from her collection. Does she really draw the designs, or just okay them with a simple red pen, scribbling "IT" next to each sketch she is seeing for the first time?  Does she really wear her shoe line?  I pondered these questions as I walked back and forth through Macy's with one shoe on and one shoe off, baring one dirty gym sock while checking for comfort.  I didn't love the suede at first, but it looked very classic once on!  I had finally found a black boot that didn't leave a 4 inch gap between my leg and the shaft of the boot!  Thank you Ivanka!  I could look fashionable without looking like I was wearing waders on my way to fish in a lake!  My calf is 12.5 inches round and the normal circumference of boots seems to be 14-16 in, so they don't look very proportionate on me.  Only the floor model was left in my size, and I went home with a size 6.5 Ivanka Trump Monty flat suede tall boot by Ivanka Trump.  (Not to be biast, I did find another perfect calf fitting pair by Nine West last season as well.  Ms. T brought me luck!)

Fast forward to the day after Christmas this year, and I had to use my $20 off $40 in Lord and Taylor so I barely made it 20 feet into the department store and saw black heeled Ivanka Trump Atilla Over The Knee Boots.  In my old age of early thirties, I love my flats, but I love the sophistication of a pointy toe skinny-heeled boot just as much!  Again, only the floor model was left in my size, and the size 6 Atilla fit perfectly!

They were comfortable too!  I know, because I walked ten feet up and down the aisle, over and over and over again back and forth first fast then slow, then I did the twist to check the slip ratio.  I was so excited and felt almost empowered by these beautiful boots, so when I realized what I was doing, in my own world, but actually in a store, I twisted again the other way and pretended to fix a shirt on the rack as to make up for my wild antics in public.  Just like Isla Fisher in the movie Confessions of A Shopaholic, I enter a dream world when I strike gold like this while shopping and could almost feel the wind knocked out of me by the gorgeous pair of heels.  I stood there pretending to look in the mirror at them, but really was thinking about how they felt to stand.  My mind wondered and I imagined I was standing at a subway in NYC, then on line for a table at a restaurant in Little Italy in the city, the boots paired with a black lace knee length dress and a long coat, soft loose curls, and bold red lipstick.  "How are those working out for you," the sales associate said, and I looked at her for a long moment before answering.  I wondered how long I was standing motionless under bright fluorescent lights, caught up in my childlike imagination, brought on by the unbelievable comfort that this stiletto heel offered.  "I'll take them!"  I was sold, even though they were not on the 60% off table.  My last purchase of the season, and they are beauties.

Maybe, just maybe, this was a sign, or a little reminder that if I work hard, I will be successful!  Do you have a female, celebrity or personal friend that you look up to who motivates you to succeed in life?  My real inspiration is my mom for her business skills and kind heart but I also thank Ivanka for the inspiration and for the boots!  Comment below to share your female role model and why they have impacted you!

Me after purchasing the Ivanka Trump Atilla boots!
Wearing: Guess navy jacket with faux leather detail, Dana Buchman wedge boots from last season

 Ivanka Trump Monty  (photo courtesy of

Ivanka Trump Atilla (photo courtesy of (photo courtesy of


*All products mentioned were personally purchased, and not endorsed by the company.

*Updated Jan. 20, 2015: my Monty boots are actually size 6.5 since they ran smaller.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Plantar Fasciitis Is Cramping My Style

I wouldn't say that I am a fitness expert by any means; however, I do work out regularly and eat a fairly healthy diet.  My workouts include cardio, weight training, yoga, zumba, ballet, and occasionally PIYO.  For me, cardio is usually 20-30 minutes on the elliptical or a flat run on the treadmill.  In October I started experiencing pain in the arch of my right foot.  I thought maybe I pulled a muscle or something at ballet and didn't think much of it.  After a couple of weeks the pain was not any better. In fact, it was worse and my left foot was also starting to hurt sometimes too.  By that time, my right foot constantly ached and even had a hot, burning pain sometimes. I was being kept awake at night because of the pain in my foot!  Finally during a ballet class, one of my dancer friends, who happens to be a physical therapist, looked at it and said it was plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is basically pain and inflammation of one or both feet due to an overtight calf muscle or overtight calves.  All I know is that it was hurting and I was quite happy to have avoided seeing my doctor for a diagnosis and treatment directions.  My friend said to start wearing an arch support, ice it several times a day, stretch my calves two to three times a day and roll the arch of my foot on a tennis ball to massage it. She suggested taking a break from running, the elliptical, and jumping. She also said that I needed to wear flat shoes and not heels.

I took her advice and after four or five days I noticed an improvement.  I was icing my foot at least two times each day, wearing flat shoes, wearing my arch support brace and stretching my calves as often as I could.  People kind of looked at me funny as I took a quick break in the Target parking lot to lower my heels off the curb to stretch my calves out but I didn't mind.  Sometimes a girl just has to stretch and my calves thanked me.

Within a couple of weeks I was not having nearly as much pain.  Going to ballet still hurt but nothing could keep me away from ballet!  I missed zumba and running but focused on letting my body heal.  I credit the brace with most of my recovery.  I can definitely feel a difference when I am not wearing it.
Here's a picture of me wearing it:
It's very comfortable and not bulky at all.  Luckily since its cold outside the brace is always covered with a sock or shoe.  And one of the best things about this whole debacle was that I got to buy new flat boots and a pair of new running shoes.  I obviously needed new boots so I had a stylish alternative to sneakers.  I got a new pair of running shoes to replace an old pair with a lot of wear.  I need more support than those shoes were able to still give.  

It's been a couple of months now and I am definitely feeling better.  I am now able to do some cardio without pain but I do still ice my calves after I do zumba or running.  I also still frequently stretch my calves because when I don't my foot definitely hurts later.  I have worn heels for a few hours at a time on several occassions too- yay!  So there is definitely improvement but I have a feeling it will be an ongoing issue for that I deal with for awhile.  Anyone else dealt with plantar fasciitis or tight calves?  Any tips?  Leave a comment and let me know about any injuries you have worked with.


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*All products mentioned were personally purchased.  Photo belongs to the blogger