Personal Style: How do you define it?

Dress: Alexis (sold out) - similar  here  and  here ; darker color  here  Boots:  Shoedazzle

Dress: Alexis (sold out) - similar here and here; darker color here
Boots: Shoedazzle

“Personal style” is thrown around all the time - especially in the age of social media where there are so many people sharing theirs in the tiny squares of Instagram. But it can be a daunting task to figure out what your style is if you’re not even sure what you like or why. You’d be surprised, but even those of us who seem to have it altogether have to reevaluate our style from time to time!

So what do you do? Where do you even start? Do you head to the same stores everyone else shops in to buy whatever you think looks trendy and cool?

Of course not.

Before you start shopping, you want to start with some questions to help you figure out what to buy and where to buy it.

  1. What words would you use to describe your style (or the style you gravitate most towards)?

 

Do you like quirky style? Or are you more modern or classic in your style preferences? Do you stray away from color because you like to blend in more or are you all about standing out and prefer more bold color choices?

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2. What image would you like to portray?

 

We can say so much with our style - we can put our personalities on display and communicate to others just by the clothing we choose to wear. What would you like people to think when they see you (because let’s get real, while most of us don’t necessarily care what others think, we do want to present ourselves in the best way possible, am I right?)? Do you want to give off an image of professionalism, confidence, creativity? Are you a little shy or straight-forward? Would you say you’re more on the sophisticated side? Feminine & frilly or a tomboy?

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3. Who are you style icons? Who would you look to for style inspiration?

 

Who is that person that EVERY time you see a photo of them, you screenshot, save, and file that image in your memory because THAT is how you want to look? Whose style is consistently something you’d aspire to? What feeling does this person (or persons) evoke and why would you like to evoke the same feeling?

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So… how did you do? Do you feel like you’re getting closer to what your personal style could be?

I have a few more questions you should ask yourself to help in defining your personal style, but I’ll be saving them for my Personal Style Program, that will be launching in the new year! I’m so excited to share my style tips and tricks with you all, and I hope you’ll join me on this new journey.

If you’re interested in learning more about my course, feel free to sign up for my mailing list below, as I plan to share more information in the coming weeks!

 
 
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How To Add Color to your Wardrobe

Coat:  J.O.A. , similar  here  Sweater: Zara (sold out), but similar  here  Pants: Zara (old) but similar  here  Shoes: Shoedazzle (sold out) but similar  here  Turban:  Emijaa Jaaemil   PC:  Jasmine Rose

Coat: J.O.A., similar here
Sweater: Zara (sold out), but similar here
Pants: Zara (old) but similar here
Shoes: Shoedazzle (sold out) but similar here
Turban: Emijaa Jaaemil

PC: Jasmine Rose

Color can be intimidating - or so I’ve heard. From choosing the right ones that make you feel confident to trying to figure out what colors to wear together (hint: everything goes with denim!), it can definitely scare some people into only wearing black. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been one to run towards any and everything bold and bright. So pairing unlikely color combinations is something that comes easily to me. I’m realizing that not everyone has a knack for it, so I’ll be sharing some easy (and hopefully not intimidating) ways to add more color to your wardrobe.

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  1. Wear classic styles. There are some pieces that will always be in style, no matter what. Can you think of a winter where people weren’t wearing turtlenecks? Me either. If you’re in a cold weather city, turtlenecks are a staple and come out of the closet every Fall. Try finding a bright orange (like this one) or bubblegum pink (like this one). You can pair a turtleneck with everything in your closet - from a pair of denim to wearing it over a dress.

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Wear a bold classic style.

I wore this classic turtleneck in a vibrant marigold, over a dress to winterize one of my favorite summer pieces. This dress is sleeveless with a low v-neck (definitely not suitable for Fall/Winter in NYC), so adding a sweater and denim jacket made it easy to wear as the temps got cooler.

2. Wear bold colored outerwear. The great thing about coats (in most cases, but you know I’m extra) is that you don’t have to worry about putting a whole outfit together to match your coat. If you’re *not* like me, and actually plan on CLOSING your coat, then it doesn’t matter what colors you’re wearing underneath, because your outwear will do all the talking. This cobalt blue coat from J.O.A. (a brand I also carry in my shop) is a showstopper!

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Wear a bold statement coat.

Adding a statement coat can bring any outfit to life! Although this look already had a lot going on, adding the blue coat gave it the extra edge.

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3. Wear a bold shoe. Y’all know I LOVE a good shoe! Add any color (and I’m not talking black or brown) to your look and it’s an instant LEWK, honey. Shoes can take an outfit from blah to YAAAASSS, b*%^c in a matter of seconds. Whether it’s a bold yellow pump like this one or a red one like the one below, try adding an extra pop of color this way.

Wear a bold shoe.

Adding a pop of color on your feet is a super easy way to infuse more color into your outfits. Even if it’s a colorful pair of sneakers - no need to wear heels to be fly!

PC: SimplyShannah

Et voila! Those are my tips for taking baby steps to add a little color to your wardrobe. Let me know what you think in the comments, and when you try one (or all if you’re feeling super adventurous!) of the tips, be sure to let me know over on Instagram!

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A New York Love Story

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Everything the dating “experts” tell you NOT to do/expect is pretty much a part of our story. 

1. We met in a club

2. Became “familiar” quickly. 😂 

3. Had in-house dates early on.  

4. Dealt with ex drama

5. Broke up & got back together.

6. Moved in before engagement or any talk of marriage.  

7. No magical marriage proposal moment.  

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BUT, here we are, happy and in love.  

Funny thing though: we *almost* didn’t even make it to our first date. So here’s the story:

Dre and I met at a club. 😳 It was my friend’s birthday and we had plans to go to Atlantic City for the weekend. At the last minute, she changed her mind and another friend of ours invited us to a party that she was working (as a a promoter). There were 3 of us, my friend & her boyfriend, and me. I knew a lot of people there, so I did my little social butterfly thing and roamed around/danced alone most of the evening so her and the bf could hang. At one point, I wandered, tipsy and in a great mood, over to the bar to get a glass of water - where I bumped into Dre. Literally fell into his arms. The dress I had on had an open back and his hand found his way to my bare back and conversation ensued.

Me: My back is sweaty.

Dre: *shrugs* I don’t care, do you? 

Me: *shrugs* not really.  

I don’t quite remember what else was said #blamethevodka, but at some point he introduced me to his sister and friend who he’d come to the party with. I do remember mentioning where I lived, and him saying that his friend lived a block away. He’ll say I invited him over to our table for a drink but I don’t remember that, I just remember that once I walked away, I kept seeing him every time I turned around. On the dance floor, by the stairs, by our table. LOL. I gave him (& 2 other guys) my number that cold, December Saturday night.

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I had heard from the other two already, but by Tuesday evening, hadn’t heard a peep from Mr. Touch My Sweaty Back. LATE that night - like after midnight - I finally get a text, “hey, can you talk?”

Um, no. *ignore* And best believe I won’t be talking to him if he decides to call later. Who does he think he is that he can text me that late, for the first time, and I’m supposed to be ready and willing to talk at that hour. No, again.

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I get a call the next afternoon from the same number. *sends to voicemail*

And I was determined to not even listen to the message. But my curiosity got the best of me, so I finally checked it as I was heading home from work that day.

Ugh. He has a nice voice. DOUBLE UGH. He’s witty & funny.

So now I have to call him back. I don’t really know what it was, but something about hearing his voice made me smile. Just typing this out now gives me that same happy feeling - what we later called the “warm & fuzzies” for each other.

On that call, we planned a first date, and well, it never happened. HE STOOD ME UP!

Not really, but I like to say that. LOL! He called me a few hours before our date and told me he was styling a photoshoot and it was running later than he expected so he wouldn’t be able to make it, and politely asked if we could reschedule.

He was STYLING A PHOTOSHOOT. If that right there doesn’t tell me we were meant to be together…! So yeah, we rescheduled, had a blast (even though our friends who were on the double date with us were kissing before we’d even hugged each other LOL) and, well there’s a whole lot of other stuff that happened before we got here, but I’m sure you’re just ready to see some cute kids. Maybe I’ll share more of our story later. Until then, feast on the cuteness!

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Mom of Two

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You know how people say you’re never really ready for kids? I honestly thought I was prepared to be a mom of 2. But his little girl came along and turned my whole everything upside down. Never in my life did I expect to have a baby who was so difficult to understand, so moody...a baby who challenged my own sanity. It’s something I chose not to go too deeply into on this platform (or with anyone, really) - the severe anxiety I dealt with in the early days, but I realized that speaking on my challenges my be a blessing to someone else who may be feeling as alone and as angry as I once felt. I was angry with myself for not being able to control my emotions, I was angry with her because she wouldn’t stop crying, I was angry that she wasn’t an “easy” baby like her brother was. I cried every day, whether in the middle of the night or the middle of the day, it happened. I had terrible thoughts of throwing my child, of leaving her somewhere, anything that would make this anxiety go away.

And what do we do? We blame ourselves, right? That somehow, this is our fault. It’s my fault that she cries like this, it’s my fault that she can’t get to sleep and cries for hours instead, it’s my fault that I can’t get a grip on my feelings, and can burst out into tears at any given moment, IT’S MY FAULT THAT I’M HAVING THESE TERRIBLE THOUGHTS ABOUT DOING SOMETHING HARMFUL TO MY CHILD!!

Only, it isn’t.

It isn’t our fault at all. Mama, it’s not your fault.

Our bodies take on so much when we carry a child, and a lot of times we (and the people around us) take that for granted. I mean, it’s happening TO US, and sometimes we still tend to forgot that so much of our energy, our brain cells, our blood, our EVERYTHING goes to these tiny humans we are growing. And then after we give birth, have to figure out how to care for them and ourselves with everything else we have going on. Homelife, other kids, spouses, jobs… it’s a fucking lot.

I’d have moments where I would be holding Elle to feed her and would burst into tears - for what felt like no reason at all. Christian was there on occasion and wouldn’t know what else to do other than give me a hug (which of course made me cry more, because how does this sweet boy know exactly what I need when I don’t even know?). She’d be crying because she was tired, but still too tired to sleep, and we’d be crying together. My days felt empty and alone and my nights were restless. Top that with recovering from a c-section and not having any of my family nearby to help.

Mamas take care of yourselves, please. And I don’t just mean get your nails done, I mean go to therapy if you need it (I will be starting soon), talk to people about what you’re going through (this is really the first time I’m really talking about it), take some time away from your children, don’t blame yourself for feeling alone, scared, angry, overwhelmed. Don’t allow anyone else to look down on your for those feelings. Pray, breathe, laugh, dance. Do what’s right for you, because if mama isn’t well, the family won’t be either.

*so sorry if this sounded like rambling, I was literally typing my feelings out and threw it up without re-reading it because I knew if I did, I would chicken out and not share. Someone (besides me) needed to read this message today. I pray that this finds you well and on the mend.

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Don't just sit there - 3 Tips to Keep Moving When You're Unsure of the Next Steps

Photography by:  Carissa and Ben  in Albuqurque, NM Top & Jacket: Thrifted Pants: Zara Shoes:  ShoeDazzle

Photography by: Carissa and Ben in Albuqurque, NM
Top & Jacket: Thrifted
Pants: Zara
Shoes: ShoeDazzle

At times, I find myself unsure of the next steps, and I used to completely shut down when that happened. Figuring that since I didn’t know where to go, I’d just sit. I can’t tell you how many times I completely stopped moving when it came to Vetu de Joy because I was stuck and had no idea what to do next. I’d sit on my hands, afraid to misstep, and sometimes, afraid to take any steps at all. This not only cost me MONEY but it cost me some of my esteem! I started feeling like I didn’t know what to do because maybe I just wasn’t good enough to be doing it. Smh.

Not taking any steps turned out to be way worse than making a wrong turn. Action is absolutely essential to creating momentum, and when we stand still, we’re basically telling the Universe that we don’t want anything and don’t want to go anywhere. So guess what we get? Nothing. Once you start taking those steps, no matter how small, it triggers everything around you to also start moving.

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So when you feel stuck, uninspired, and overwhelmed with what comes next, here are some tips I’ve used to help me keep going:

1. Breathe. Really. Sometimes you just have to stop, breathe, and realize how difficult you’re making things. We do it to ourselves, and a lot of times, we can undo it. Take some time to get some deep breaths in, clear your mind of all the clutter and do what feels right, instead of overthinking.

Random note, but my twist out was ON POINT during this shoot. LOL!

Random note, but my twist out was ON POINT during this shoot. LOL!

2. Ask for advice. This is a tough one for me. I always think I can figure it out myself, but sometimes, we just can’t. Don’t be afraid to display a little vulnerability and ask for help. Talk to a friend, a loved one or someone else who has worked on a similar project what they think of the work you’ve done so far, and how you could take things to the next level. Even if you don’t follow their advice to the T, you may get some nuggets of inspiration that may propel you forward.

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3. Step away. Not for good! But maybe it’s just for an hour or a week, give yourself time to focus on something else. You never know where your next idea or next piece of inspiration will come from, and it may come when you step away from your project briefly (given pending deadlines). You may walk back to it with a renewed sense of vigor!

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Think of it this way, when you get into your car, type the directions into your phone/GPS, start the ignition, put on your seatbelt, but fail to put the car in Drive and press the gas? Guess what… the GPS isn’t going to give you any directions, and you won’t get any until you put the car in Drive and start moving! Even if you start heading the wrong way, the GPS will tell you, “make a legal u-turn”. There’s no need to fear a misstep because in some way, you’ll be redirected onto the correct path.

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What do you to to get unstuck? Share your tips in the comments!

3 Ways to Style a Striped Blazer

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I’m sure you know by now, about my love of stripes. So when i saw this Zara blazer, it was an automatic purchase for me, because I knew I’d be able to wear it so many times, in so many different ways.

Although you don’t see them often here, I wear jeans a lot in my every day life. They’re easy to throw on, whether with sneakers, boots or heels, and you can wear pretty much anything with them. For a simple look, wear your striped blazer with a plain tee, a pair of distressed denim and a cute pair of pumps. I added a floral pair…because #mixedprints, but any pair will do!

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More in line with what you see me in on a regular basis, I styled my vertically-striped Zara blazer with a diagonally-striped dress! I purchased these pieces at the same time, but didn’t think to wear them together until I took them both out of the box. I mean… they really couldn’t be a more perfect match!

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Keeping with adding more color to the look, I paired the blazer with a pair of red pants and a grey graphic tee. I threw on a bold statement necklace and a pair of rhinestone booties to complete my rocker-mom chic look.

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