Archives for January 2015

Day to Night Fashion: using the same focus for two different looks

one skirt two looksWith fashion finding the perfect outfit for an event is hard enough, but trying to do it twice in one day can feel like looking for a four leaf clover.  For me if there is a piece I really love about one part of my outfit, chances are that I am going to try to carry it to the next event too.  With a couple of easy changes in accessories or components you can redefine a look quickly and still get the perfect fit for two very different occasions.

Last weekend I was faced with two events in one day and the challenge was on to make the focus of my outfit, a colorful print skirt, work for two completely different events.  I started in the morning with my Art of Conversation brunch.  For the Art of Conversation events I always like to look responsible enough to be a host but fun enough that people actually want to listen to my input on the conversation.  To do so I decided to balance the colorful, playfulness of the skirt with a solid colored top.  I chose a lace blouse to get the job done, with the solid black color but still a fun lace pattern to balance and still add some edginess to the playful skirt.  To keep the look PG I added a camisole and to add a little spice and to lengthen my legs, I rounded off the look with some peep toe pony hairs Christian Louboutins. With a beautiful day and some great food at Davis St. Restaurant the event was a success and it was on to the next one.

For my night event I faced the challenge of repurposing the skirt I loved for an awards banquet for the Houston Black Real Estate Association.  My goal for the look of the evening was definitely not as lively.  In my opinion if you are not sure what the general attire is toning your look down is never a bad idea. So to balance the skirt I went with a solid print red shirt with an asymmetrical finish.  To deal with the night air I added some black net stockings and because I am still young and fun (at least in my mind) I finished the look with my black leather jacket.  Pulling up a full 13 hours after my day started I was happy to have transformed a look from day to night while keeping it sleek and comfortable all at the same time.

 

Catching moments in time with journaling

IMG_0246I was never the diary kind of kid.  All the boring stuff in life seemed to silly to write down and all the fun stuff looked like proof to some of my shenanigans.  As an adult, however, I have developed a different perspective on journaling.  Time teaches us an important lesson that life keeps moving no matter how much we would like to slow it down or even stop it.  Important moments and changes in our lives happen far too quickly but some of these live lessons, if we take time to really think about them, can give us insight on how to get better.

So at the end of last year when visiting the Metropolitan museum I found the perfect journal to capture my ups, downs, wins and losses for 2015.  The buying is the easy part, however.  Life can get into the way with the good intentions that come with journaling.  At the end of the day doing nothing or getting some rest may seem like a way better alternative.  Even with the temptation, there is a lot to learn about ourselves when we are open and honest with how we feel and write it down in a journal.  Yes you write down things that happened and what other people did, but the real gems in a journal are the way we felt and reaction to life around us.  In those pages lies the truth that often we are too afraid to admit to ourselves.  Maybe it’s that we are insecure, or are wavering in our faith, or that the problems we blame on others are really rooted in ourselves.  Whatever those truths are, nothing can be overcome without first facing it.  By writing down your truth in a journal you have the time, space, and freedom to come face to face with who you really are at a given moment in your life.  No matter if you later use it for reflection, or inspiration, or even to share more intimate details of the person you are with your children and loved ones it is a great way to capture who you are, at the heart of who you are.

Play Hard Playbook Book Challenge

Earlier this year I read about Mark Zuckerberg’s personal challenge to read a new book every other week about different cultures, belief, and histories.  His challenge inspired me to issue a similar challenge.

Play Hard Playbook 2015 Book Challenge: To read two books a month focused on the development of my personal, spiritual, and financial goals for the year based on the reading recommendations of people I admire (such as Oprah, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet).

heart shaped bookAlthough I grew up loving books, something about the forced reading in law school made me pass on the desire to read for a while.  Well it’s been a couple of years and I think I am ready to get back on the saddle as reading is one of the best ways to continue the challenge of learning throughout your life.  If your goal is to continue to get better with time and age, books help give the insight needed for that journey to help you grow more into the person you can be and face up the challenges life has in store for you.

As 2015 for me is a year of personal growth for me, I thought I would focus on books that helped me develop me.  Now going to the “self-help” section of the book store can feel like an awkward place, but the truth is there is no better place to reflect on your own challenge than by reading how others conquered theirs.  By starting within I hope I am gearing up to use the work I do on myself and apply it to the service I hope to share with my community.  Here are the books that are up for my January reading:

Think and Grow Rich: Now I tackled this book last year with a fantastic book club but as it is a classic I thought it would serve as good motivation to get my year moving in the right direction early on.   It is a great reminder that no matter where you want to go in life, the place you start is with you.  Setting your mind to what you want so it becomes a burning desire and gives birth to faith breathes life into the phrase “If you can believe it, you can achieve it!”  By giving me the steps to everyday reinforce my goals in life and what I am willing to give in order to reach these goals sets the table of life up for being things ahead.

How to Win Friends & Influence People:  No matter how you try to escape it, people need people, especially if you are an entrepreneur.   This book is another oldie but goodie that gives real life, practical advice on how to get your way in a manner that is win-win.  If you have challenging people in your personal or professional life this book is a great way to rethink an old problem  If nothing else it powerful insight on what makes people tick and how in trying to make situations better we can easily cause them to move out of control.

 

I can tell my January books have already made a huge impact on my mindset in 2015.  What books have been powerful in directing your own life???

Spreading your wings with cheap travel

Travel Cheaper Longer Smarter sign with a beachFrom trips to Abu Dhabi to Kenya there are a lot of exotic trips people all around me have had a chance to take advantage of with cheap travel deals.  Without doubt I believe that travel is one of the best ways to add some rich experiences to your life and to appreciate what you have, however small it seems, a little more.  With international flight specials popping up for as low as $300 to $400, a lot of the old excuses for why you have to wait to travel the world have disappeared.  So how do you jump on board and start to take advantage of some of these great flight specials?

Be prepared to travel in a party of 1 to 100

Sometimes waiting on people to join in on the fun can be the difference between catching a great deal and being stuck missing out.  It is always great to travel with friends so you are not alone, but when you are committed to checking some travel destinations off your list time may be of the essence.  Even with the best of intentions sometimes life happens and people’s plans to travel with you fall through.  If you are prepared to go alone or in a small group if necessary you can make a commitment a lot faster than waiting for everyone to sign on, sign up and pay their money.

Sign up for flight special notifications

It’s a lot easier if the deals are looking for you instead of vice versa.  Deals pop up when the airlines want to book seats, not necessarily when you are looking for the flights.  By signing up for some low price notifications on travel sites the best deals come to you and you can then match the deals that come to your time frames, budget, and preferences.

Separate your travel funds so they are ready to go when needed

Money is frequently the biggest travel issue.  Even when the fare price is low most of us have to deal with life demands on a daily basis, travel deals or not.  By pulling funds out in a separate account or having a credit card dedicated to travel you can be ready to book at the drop of a dime when you see something that catches your eye.

Be open minded

Amazing experiences are waiting in the most unexpected places.  We all have our top 5 or 10 destinations on our bucket list, but there is a great big world out there and adventure lies at every turn.   By being open to visit some unexpected places if the price is right you may discover some fantastic places you never imagined visiting.  Not to mention once you get close in many countries such as Europe or South America you may be able to find low price travel option like a train or boat to countries close by.  If nothing else with every travel destination you hit the travel bug gives you a little more incentive to continue to spread your wings.

Longer is not always better

It’s hard to spend a day or two traveling only for a weekend of fun.  Unfortunately some of the worst part of adult living is that you have to work with what you have.  Even in a shorter visit you can pack a big punch on the fun or adventure department by doing your homework, resting while in route, and being committed to keeping the party going.  Life is short and if you are always waiting on the ideal situation to do something new you may just let life pass you by.

Business Lunch to impress at Houston Club

IMG_0426Nestled at the height of downtown lies a great place to grab lunch, a drink, or impress a client.  The Houston Club has always been a great location, but with a recent renovation, it offers a phenomenal atmosphere for wining and dining in downtown Houston.  When it comes to business, frequently downtown is where the action is.  By stepping up to the 49th floor of One Shell you skip some of the crowded downtown destinations.  By choosing the Houston Club you can an unbeatable view of downtown combined with a delicious dining menu all in an environment that allows a relaxing conversation which is one the best business lunches are all about. IMG_0423

IMG_0424When I got a chance to visit the Houston Club for a lunch meeting, I expected what I experienced before at meetings in the location.  I was pleasantly surprised, however, that despite the formality of the location the mood in the dining area is sleek enough to be professional but comfortable enough to be conducive for real business transactions to happen.  It follows the cardinal rule of success in business; they must like you to do business with you.  You can easily miss the mark when you give the impression of being pretensions or stuffy instead of just being likable and approachable.

IMG_0425Another great way to ensure someone walks away with a good impression of you and the lunch is that they enjoyed their meal.  To answer the call in that department the food in the Houston Club is light enough to ensure you won’t need a nap afterwards but delicious enough to keep you wanting more.  Not to mention the finishing touch for me the small offerings of desert that don’t destroy your diet but satisfy the sweet tooth that for me is ever-present.  The Houston Club, with their great view and atmosphere, ensure all the work to get to the location is readily rewarded with your experience.

 

Changing up a look with a jacket dress

Jacket dress Jackets are a winner on the warmth department, but some jackets can end up looking big and bulky instead of streamlined and stylish.  In the winter time warmth is my primary goal, followed by a close second of being stylish.Some of my favorite go to jackets are ones that can happily marrying both warmth and style.  Few styles jacket do it better than the jacket dress.

The trick of the jacket dress is the illusion it provides of a dress.  Usually done by cinching the waist or adding folds or gathers at the bottom, the jacket gives structure as well as style and does both while still highlighting a feminine profile.  You can also add on to the warmth option by layering what you have on under the jacket, and because the jacket is working as a cover all it still can be done with panache.

My go to in the jacket dress department is an urban play on the look by Armani.  The jacket is threaded with a silver overlay making it blend easily with a range of color palettes, from grey to black and even navy.  The jacket top provides a strength from the colorless button closure and structured shoulder.  The waist comes in close to highlight a woman’s curve even in the structure of a jacket.  The final feminine flair is thrown in as the waist expands out to a skirt like finish at the bottom.  Not only is it femine and warm it gives perfect coverage to quickly dress up a pretty casual outfit of jeans and a t-shirt.  It can be dressed up or dressed down effortlessly and is the best of both worlds in the jacket department.

 

Tearing it up in Turtlenecks

IMG_0288Turtlenecks get a back wrap as Granny gear.  They are synonymous with being old and frumpy and covering up.  Once winter hits, however, there are few better shirt options to protect from the cold and the wind than the sleeve and neck coverage you get in a turtleneck.  With the variety of options in color and styles there is no reason that the turtleneck has to be a fashion faux paus!

My preferred turtleneck style is in a darker color solid.  I love the streamlined look it gives it and it can be paired with other layering pieces like sweaters and jackets with ease. When you choose one solid from chin to hip you also get to elongate the look of everything from your neck to waist.  Although the fit depends on the person, I prefer my fit to be a little snug and give a nod to the curves without making it the feature of the look.  Plus layers are always there if you want to escape the form fit and want to balance the colors with different patterns and shapes.  Accessories are also a great way to jazz up a turtleneck as they are the perfect backdrop for bold statement necklaces and earrings.

With the look being something easily transferrable from casual with jeans to dressy with a skirt and jacket, when the weather drops I make sure they are in my arsenal to beat the chill and put a check next to my look of the day.  Do you think turtlenecks can fit into a fun fashion appetite?

 

Black on Black for New Year’s – What I wore

IMG_0262When I initially set off to find a New Year’s outfit I had my sights set on something shiny.  But after a quick trip to the mall and my time running short I decided to visit my closet to see what I could put together that was New Year’s worthy.  If it wasn’t’ sparkly at least it could have some shine and so the hunt began.  Although some sparkle is a great way to kick off a celebration of a New Year’s there are other options that are equally festive.  Black Satin is a great direction to go in when you are looking to dress up.   When done right black always makes a statement and the shine adds a dimension of elegance and steps away from the ordinary.  I started with the focus on the bottom as my eyes first settled on this pencil skirt with lace up detailing in the back.  The fabric manages to provide enough give to make sure the skirt hugs every curve and the bunching works to both accentuate those curves but also provide some forgiveness in problem areas like the waist.  The lace up detailing in the back not only gives a great flash back to glamour days of the past it also gives some additional options to make sure the dress fits just the way you want by tightening and loosening the strings as needed. IMG_0240As the skirt was the powerhouse I chose the rest of the outfit as compliments.  The halter top is in a similar shiny black satin material that gave the look of a dress but the flexibility that comes with separates.  Paired with some black ponyhaired Christian Louboutin’s the black on black on black look was complete and I was ready to head out on the town to ring in the New Year.

Weekend sales means the price is right!

The-Sale-Revised_112640With New Year’s resolutions in high gear chances are floating around in the mix is giving yourself a new look for the New Year.  The problem can be, however, after all of that holiday shopping your budget is not as eager as your mind in updating your wardrobe.  Thank goodness for sales that pile up towards the beginning of the year as stores sweep out the old and prepare for the new.  But old to them can be new to you and taking advantage of the sales is a great way to do a little wardrobe updating as well as not break your New Year’s budget.  Here are some great sales on for this weekend that give designer deals galore.

Tootsie sale Jan 2015Tootsies: This landmark River Oaks store always has fashions that high the mark and their sales are no exception.  With prices down as low as 70% of original price this is a sale where being an early bird goes a long way.  With a keen eye and some patience there are some great finds in outstanding designer pieces with prices that cannot be beat.

The Sale: Shopping for a purpose is always fun and The Sale, benefiting the Cure for Childhood Cancer, is a great mix of something for everyone.  The sale puts together boutiques from all over the city all in one location.  It is a great way to visit your old favorites and pick up some new ones and is a great way to spend a day with friends whose shopping taste vary.

Orange is the new black – What I wore

Orange DressThis year orange made a splash and ripped the runways.  For many the color orange is an acquired taste for their fashion palette so it is always great when designers use a color in a way that re-introduces the diverse looks a color can bring to a wider audience.  From bright tangerine to the burnt embers found in a sunset, the color orange can really make a statement in fashion.  Whether it is used playfully in more intricate design or used as the yin to the yang of more traditional patterns it is a great option to have in your arsenal.

IMG_0086For the final Art of Conversation of 2014 I wanted to wear something serious enough to give weight to our most serious topic of the year but also that popped visually for the taping of the show.  As Helmut Lang is known for its simplicity and play on classic structure and shape the designer seemed like a perfect place to start my search.  I pulled the serious notes from the shape of the dress.  The draping of the dress add some polish to the bowl neck and the fit was impeccable.  The vibrant orange color mingled boldness with class seamlessly.  As its not me to be all work and no play I paired the look with soft waves and some a fun printed Christian Louboutins.  All in all the outfit was moderator worthy but added enough zest that it really embodied my style and personality.  At the end of the day regardless of the occasion, isn’t that the point of fashion.

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