Friday, February 28, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Savannah Blue Necklace

Day 5:  Savannah Blue & Red on Black

 I love the look of the Savannah Blue necklace, but I wasn't sure if I would love Savannah Blue combined with another necklace as much.  Now, I can say I absolutely do!  
 I had to trust the great style of my Miss America sister Autumn Marisa Lexer, an Independent Founding Designer with Mialisia JewelryIt was easy to combine Savannah Blue with the Madison necklace and the colors are amazing.

It's incredible how with one piece of jewelry, you can have so many different looks.  For this "One Sweet Find:  5 Ways to Wear It," I've also used the Savannah Blue as a long necklace, shorter necklace, and bracelet for distinct looks.  Autumn says you can also combine the  two necklaces to use them as a belt.   The possibilities really are endless.  It was simple to create each look and the Savannah Blue necklace is certainly a memorable piece of jewelry that will turn heads!

Sweater:  J. Crew Factory
Pants:  Target
Clutch:  Charlotte Russe

Savannah Blue and Madison (Love the Names!)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Savannah Blue Necklace

Day 4:  Ready for Summer - 
Hot Pink, White & Savannah Blue

 This look reminds me of summer!  It can't come soon enough.  The combination of hot pink, turquoise and white will always be one of my favorites.  

Top:  Target
Pants:  Macy's
Clutch:  Charlotte Russe

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Savannah Blue Necklace

Day 3:  A Jeweled Neckline

 Day by day, I am loving this necklace even more.  Today I decided to wear it a shorter length so that it would fit the neckline of this black dress.  I wore it two ways - the first draped down the neckline and the second draped more across the neckline.  When I have more time, I actually plan to hand stitch the necklace to the dress for a real jeweled neckline look.  And it will be easy afterwards to cut the hand stitches out and wear it a different way.  

Drawing Attention Away from the Waist
I love the way the bright turquoise draws the eye up.  It's great if you want to draw attention away from the waist. Why didn't I have this necklace after I had Charlotte and my belly still looked 9 months pregnant? :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Savannah Blue Necklace

Day 2:  Hot Pink, Silver & Savannah Blue

 This Savannah Blue necklace is easily transformed into other pieces of jewelry - including this bracelet.  I took off the necklace extender and wrapped it around my wrist twice.   I had to have my sister help me latch it together, but it fit perfectly.  My friend Miss America fr
iend Autumn Marisa Lexer, an Independent Founding Designer with Mialisia Jewelry  gave me this necklace and I love it!  Tomorrow, I'll show you how I'll use Savannah Blue as a shorter necklace.

Necklace:  Autumn Marisa Lexer / Mialisia Jewelry
Autumn's Mialisia Facebook Page
Dress:  Old Navy
Belt:  Banana Republic
Clutch:  Target
Necklace:  Gift from my Husband :)

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Savannah Blue Necklace

Day 1:  Office Chic

 On these never-ending days of winter, I need a bright pop of color to remind me of spring! My friend 
Autumn Marisa Lexer, an Independent Founding Designer with Mialisia Jewelry, gave me this beautiful necklace to feature here.  We became friends many years ago at Miss America in Atlantic City.  (Autumn was Miss Pennsylvania 2002 and I was Miss New Hampshire 2002.) I always remembered that Autumn had a great sense of style, so it was no surprise that Mialisia has many beautiful items.   Mialisia Jewelry is unique because it's based on the idea that you get to be the jewelry designer - there are multiple ways to wear each piece. As you can tell from this feature on my blog, "One Sweet Find:  5 Ways to Wear It," I love it when I can find something that has multiple distinct looks.  You can check out the concept here.   For instance, this necklace can be worn as a shorter necklace, a bracelet or can be combined with other necklaces for different looks.  "Stay tuned" for the rest of the week for the other looks! (Below is also a quick look at how I previously styled this necklace for my "Power of Red" segment.)

Necklace:  Autumn Marisa Lexer / Mialisia Jewelry
Autumn's Mialisia Facebook Page
Silk Top: Trina Turk
Skirt:  New York & Co.
Clutch:  Charlotte Russe

Savannah Blue from "The Power of Red" Segment:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spring Wish List

Happy (almost) spring!  To say I'm not eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring would be like saying I'm not fond of shopping at all :) Honestly, I used to shop in a very random and unprepared way, which would drive me (and my husband) crazy.  I lacked direction.  I couldn't make up my mind and I spent hours and hours trying to decide what to buy when we would shop.  Creating a "wish list" has been incredibly helpful.  It allows me to better visualize what I love and what will work in my life and my closet.  For the most part, I now can pass on the things that don't fit my list with a lot less regret.  I stray, however, if it's an unexpected, incredible treasure - case in point, I just scored a Burberry Brit scarf at a price far too good to pass up.  I've been waiting for this large scarf/wrap for seven years (no joke)!  

So, this is my general list (not exact labels) I'm searching for this spring.  I love the pink and yellow pops of color.  The white jeans will be my spring "uniform" and I love the fresh look of a striped skirt and striped shoes.    I especially love these Payless striped shoes because spring in New England can be so unkind.  I absolutely hate to ruin an expensive pair of shoes in the mud!  Many of my everyday shoes in the spring are inexpensive.  My more expensive shoes are "fair weather" shoes!

Spring Wish List

Sweet Dreams of Spring

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sweet Dreams of Spring

The Sweet Switch

Perhaps I've taken living the sweet life too far.  I love all things sweet - including sweet drinks and treats.  Now, I have two cavities and going to the dentist terrifies me.  It's time to switch out some of my regular favorite sweet treats for better options. It's not to say I won't still eat these items, but I won't eat them regularly (every day).  My mom the R.N. is cheering right now :)

San Pellegrino - My Replacement for Ginger Ale

Sweet:  Ginger Ale.  For most people, it's probably coffee.  I actually made a significant effort to try to become a coffee drinker but it didn't work.  My body rejected it.  It gave me terrible headaches.  So, I drink ginger ale instead.  I drink it alone and with cranberry juice and I absolutely love it!
Switch:  San Pellegrino (zero sugar) with low or no-sugar cranberry juice.

Sweet:  Twizzlers (yum!!) I could eat a bag at a time if I let myself. 
Switch:  Real Strawberries.  Yes, they have natural sugar but at least they are good for you!

Sweet:  Cookies.  Yes, I just made another batch...  I have such a sweet tooth.  This is hard.   Switch:  Prevention Magazine recommends reaching instead for sweet and salty kettle corn, which has significantly less sugar.  Hopefully, it will give me something good to snack on while still satisfying my serious sweet tooth.  We'll see...

Sweet:  Italian Ice & Sugary Popsicles.  I eat them all year long.  All of that high fructose corn syrup just tastes SO good!  
Switch:  Real fruit (home made popsicles) & sugar-free popsicles.  This is what I give Charlotte when her teeth hurt.  I should take note!

Again, I'm not saying I won't eat cookies or Twizzlers again.  But I certainly won't be drinking a can or two a day of Ginger Ale.  I don't want to be going to the dentist for even more fillings.  Plus, I won't have to explain to Charlotte why she can't have my Ginger Ale (which she thinks is water)!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Sparkly Wool Sweater

Day 4:  A Soft Backdrop to a Bright Red Statement

I almost didn't buy these ivory pants when I saw them on the rack at Marshalls last year, but I'm glad I did!  I've used a lot of stain stick and will continue to, though.  But I love the way the sweater and the pants create a soft backdrop to this bright red top and fierce crystal statement necklace.  They draw your attention up, which I like because, let's be honest, wearing white or ivory pants can be intimidating.  They're not always the most flattering color of pants!

Sweater:  Banana Republic
Top:  Francesca's
Pants:  Marshalls
Necklace:  Target
Clutch:  Banana Republic

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Sparkly Wool Sweater

Day 3:  Sparkles, Green Ruffles & Pearls

I really want to pull out all of my spring clothes but Mother Nature is not cooperating.  So, this is a way to wear a spring dress - with a wool sweater.  This dress is extremely versatile. It has a beautiful full-waisted skirt.  In fact, it's so full, I wore this dress while I was pregnant.  I found it at Old Navy and I fell in love with the Kelly Green color!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Sparkly Wool Sweater

Day 2:  Stripes & Sparkles

At first, I realized I was pairing this sweater with all solid colors and I had to change that.  I knew stripes or a pattern would work well with this too.  This is actually one of my favorite looks.  In fact, I tried it with a few different belts and couldn't decide.  I guess there are more options for just this look than I could have imagined.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Sparkly Wool Sweater

Day 1:  Sparkles, Neon Pink & White

I love this Banana Republic wool sweater because it's incredibly warm and it's different than the average wool sweater.  The looks I paired this sweater with are actually all items I had in my closet already that I hadn't worn in a while.  I wore this neon pink J. Crew Factory top once and decided it was too bright; however, I think the ivory and light brown tones in this sweater help to soften the look of it.

Sweater:  Banana Republic
Pink Top:  J. Crew Factory Store
Pants:  Macy's
Clutch:  Target
Necklace:  Forever 21

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day: Love & Live Life

Happy Valentine's Day!  Whether you have a sweetheart or not, today is all about loving your life and living it to the fullest.

Although, yes, I do absolutely love to wear and write about beautiful sparkly colorful things, today I have to reflect and tell you things are always secondary in my life.   Things do make each of us feel wonderful and confident, but they certainly won't bear hug us back, say "I love you," or dry our tears after a hard day.   Things will continue to go in and out of style every season.  Our fiercely loyal loved ones will never flinch and will always love, inspire and stand by us with open arms.

Last year, I lost a dear friend who was by every measure a phenomenal woman.  Her body just couldn't keep up with her electrifying personality and huge heart.  She fought for her life with every ounce of her soul.  Every day, I am reminded to live a little bit more for her.   It means not taking any moments - any seconds - for granted.  It means hugging loved ones tighter, feeling emotions more deeply and really being in the moment (minus the smartphone).  

It means appreciating all of the little moments in life that in the end are really the most important and special moments anyway!

Love & Live Life

Fashion Week Inspiration: Black & White

Fashion Week Inspiration: Black & White

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Power of Red

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Woman of Style: Michelle Johnston

Going Red with a Powerful Purpose

Michelle Johnston wears red almost every day.  It's not just because she looks radiant in the color red or loves the way it looks.  Michelle lives red.  She believes in the power of red.  

I met Michelle through the American Heart Association in Vermont and New York.  She is a gorgeous, glowing woman who has made me laugh and cry with her amazing philosophy on life.  She has a huge smile, infectious laugh and warm soul.  She is someone whom I will never forget.  I hope her story will also inspire you to live a little more, have more fun and never take one day for granted.  

Photo By:  Leading Edge Design
(Ty and Amy Krester)

Michelle's Story

It seemed like an average day in Michelle Johnston's life.  She was carrying groceries inside her Shelburne, Vt., home in October 2009.  Her husband and 6-year-old daughter had also just arrived home.  The well loved mom and wife doesn't remember much after that.  Within about 10 seconds, she collapsed and her heart stopped beating.  Her husband performed CPR until the paramedics arrived, which is exactly why Michelle believes she is alive today.  She had suffered sudden cardiac arrest.  "When I died, it took 25 minutes to get me back.  Then, I died again and came back on the way to the hospital,"  she told my interviewing class at SUNY Plattsburgh in the Spring of 2012. 

Michelle woke up after being in a coma not knowing where she was or that the man sitting by the side of her hospital bed was her husband. She persevered through a long recovery, routinely seeing trauma and speech therapists.  She now has an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) in her chest, which is a secondary pacemaker.  It's essentially a box she compares to a phone jack that wires into the heart valve.  

The mom and wife still has no idea why she went into sudden cardiac arrest and died.  There is no heart disease in her family.  However, she says, "Dying was probably the best thing that happened to me other than my husband and child."  "I feel like I am 20 years ahead of the game in that knowledge of just life in general.  And I live my days like that."  Her philosophy is "Everything happens for a reason."

Volunteering with the American Heart Association

Photo By:  Karen Pike Photography

Michelle started volunteering with the American Heart Association about a year after she technically died.  She said her platform is this:  1) Take care of yourself  2) There is no reason you shouldn't know CPR and 3) If you smoke, try to stop.  She also encourages healthy eating and exercise.  "One of the things they said to me was, 'If you weren't as healthy as you were when you died, you probably wouldn't have come out of it as well.'"  

As you'll read below, Michelle believes counteracting stress is very important.  "As a woman in general, a mother, daughter, you could be going to school, have a job, it's just constant stress."  Her advice to counter the constant pressure?  Take a second.  She says she is much happier now that she's had a second chance.  She can walk out of the house without having every dish washed and every carpet vacuumed.  She can let go!

Go Red for Women

This Friday, she encourages you to wear red to raise awareness about heart disease, which is the number one killer of women. "I always wore red prior to that and I wear it now.  I don't know; it's one of those colors.  I think it was meant for me," Michelle told my students.  I believe it was meant for this phenomenal survivor too!  Here is a link for even more information on why and how to Go Red for Women this Friday.

Photos:  Courtesy of Michelle Johnston

Q&A:  Michelle's Life & Personal Style

You are definitely a "get up and go" person with a LOT of energy and passion for life. How do you keep it up day after day?

The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is take a moment to breathe and tell myself “It’s a beautiful day.” I am so blessed to be alive and have all that I have. I feel it’s important to let those around me know I am here for them and that life is good to us. I have been given a second chance, and it's so important to make the most of it day after day. We only have: One Heart. One Life. Live It!

You obviously have fun with style, which is not always true for everyone. How do you keep it fun and not overwhelming?

I like to be myself and go with what makes me feel comfortable. I love to wear red; it radiates energy, love and life. When I wear red, it makes me feel happy and I have fun with it in all sorts of styles. There are so many shades of it, and to accessorize with a pair of earrings is easy to do.

How would you describe your style in a few words?

Everyday, easy going, vibrant, figure fitting, and with some attitude. I “walk with a purpose” and have a “pep in my step” when I dress this way.

What is your "go-to" look?

On the go or whether to work, I always grab a v-neck. I always have chosen to wear a v-neck dress, blouse, shirt or sweater most of the time, sometimes scoop. I like to wear and show my heart necklace my daughter gave me years ago and this style helps me do that. It’s important she is with me. And I always wear red 90 percent of the time. I love that it keeps me alive and energized, makes me feel happy.

I know you have a bucket list (Michelle calls it a "Life List") and have been steadily accomplishing things on it. What have you been up to?
Recently, I quietly took golf lessons with a pro and am happy to say I crossed off “learning golf” on my “Life-List." In return, I went to Florida and played my first game ever on a golf course in Orlando. I also crossed off “zip lining," which I did high above alligators at Gatorland in Orlando. Previous to that, I received my motorcycle license and purchased a sports bike which were both on my “Life List” and also went to Disney World for the first time with the family.

I am honored Michelle chose to share her personal story and words to live by with us. She inspires me constantly. Share her story on Facebook and Twitter if you love it too. The more people who hear it, the better! And don't forget to Go Red for Women on Friday!

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Power of Red

All week, I will be showing you different ways to Go Red for Women this Friday.  I became more familiar with the American Heart Association as a news anchor.  I met a phenomenal woman who is our Woman of Style this month.  Her compelling story will likely make you shed some tears and hopefully inspire you to wear red with a more powerful purpose as she does.

Whom will you wear red for?  I will wear red this week for my grandmother and a former executive director of the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program.  Sadly, both these outgoing, loving women passed away from heart attacks.  They are two women who touched my life and my heart in ways I cannot even begin to explain.  I have more power in my step because of them.  I pray they are watching down on me every day because life just isn't the same without either of them.

Both my grandmother, Helen Morin, and Suzanne Knox loved to have fun and loved the color red.  They always commented when I wore it!  So, this week, I will show you different looks with a red shirt, skirt and dress.  

Red Shirt, Quilted Leather & a Strand of Pearls