Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sweet Friday: Office/Night Out

Here's to Dreaming Big and Achieving Dreams!

Thank you for following my personal style blog.  I can't even tell you how much I appreciate each of you.  One of you asked me, so I wanted to share with you my past dreams, why I started this blog and where I'd like to go from here.   It's scary to share dreams but at the same time, it's nice to put them out there.

Achieving Childhood Dreams When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being everything from a teacher to a fashion magazine editor to a travel agent to Miss America.  I used to play travel agent at the desk in my room and I would crown my friends and sister as Miss America with the crocheted table cloths in our living room!  I love the phrases "There is Never a Crowd on the Extra Mile" and "Work Hard and Be Nice."   I've rarely ever had the experience of achieving many things on on the first try (or second or third in some cases).  I am envious of those of you who do but always trust that everything happens for a reason.  I went to Syracuse as a graduate student 6 years after I first applied there at the age of 18. (I wasn't accepted at the Newhouse School as an undergraduate student.)  I competed at Miss America after 4 years of competing for the job of Miss New Hampshire.  I met Ben at the end of my 20s (he thought I was 25!).  And I had Charlotte after 22 hours of contractions and a last-minute c-section.  I am now truly convinced the best things in life follow tireless hard work, sweat and tears.  When I was almost ready to quit in all of those instances,  felt too weary, and had nearly lost all belief in myself, I somehow found unbelievable strength and faith and became unstoppable.  I'm also blessed to have the most amazing parents and sister who have always encouraged me. Honestly, I wouldn't have had those journeys any other way.  The end result was even sweeter because of the struggle involved.

Charlotte & Ben: Dreams Come True  Charlotte and Ben are my key reasons to work hard, dream, and live life to the fullest.  After Charlotte arrived, in those many late-night hours I was awake holding her and admiring her beautiful face, I started to really think about setting personal goals so I could be the best mama possible for her.  I'd get scared.  Most goals and dreams are really scary.  But how could I look her in the eyes and strongly encourage her to go after her big dreams if I hadn't always done the same?  I want Charlotte to learn too that to finally be in the right place at the right time, you have to work unbelievably hard to put yourself in the right place at that right time.  

Sweet on Style & What's Next  After Charlotte was born, this blog was born too.  I spent hours upon hours in the middle of the night really thinking about what I am truly passionate about.  Although I absolutely loved the college teaching I was doing, I wanted something else in my life too.  One night around 2 a.m., I stumbled upon one of the best blogs out there -  "What I Wore" by Jessica Quirk.  Jessica is a talented woman who shares her incredible style and DIY ideas in an honest, down-to-earth way.   I was unbelievably inspired by her and still am every day.  Flash back to my childhood days of dreaming of working in magazine and later interning for Marie Claire Magazine/Hearst Magazines in New York City.  It all started coming together.  

I love style because the creative process is euphoric to me.  That is why I love this blog!  I'm excited for the weeks and years ahead.  I hope to work with other bloggers, beloved brands and just share my passion with all of you who are amazing enough to go on this journey with me!   I love the way style makes me feel and can make other women feel.  But I don't want it to be all about me.  My "style enhancement" with my beautiful "little sister," Anne, showed me I absolutely love this!   I will soon start studying Image Management.  It's through an online program with the International Image Institute, Inc. out of Ontario, Canada (that's a page of my coursework above)!  Once I finish my coursework, I can eventually go through the rigorous testing and application process to become a Certified Image Consultant with the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) if I so choose.  I'm incredibly excited because this means I can help many women achieve their professional and/or personal style goals, and more importantly, feel more confident and fearless!  Thanks for reading.  Here's to being fearless!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lessons Learned

I think everyone has style highs and lows.  There are some looks I've created that I love and some I'd rather not look back on...  Today, I'm reflecting on the looks I love and what I learned from creating them.  

I also go through all the looks I didn't care for as much and figure out why that was.  Fortunately, my less than stellar looks are not broadcast to the entire world. Although after being a news anchor and reporter, people definitely let you know what they liked and did not like.  I'll always remember how one viewer sent a scathing e-mail describing my white J. Crew belt as looking like a weird tape measure.  If anything, it made me smile!

Lauren Conrad's Chic of the Week

I have learned several lessons from this honor.  First, I'd love to tell you I just submitted a photo once and voila, instantly became Lauren Conrad's Chic of the Week.  I've been submitting photos of my personal style since I started this blog 3 months ago because I absolutely love Lauren Conrad's site and because doing this forced me to challenge my style.   Here's how:

Trust your style instincts.  I love all things feminine and elegant.  This picture is probably the best representation of my style (aside from maybe my wedding dress and details, which I will share with you in April).  Don't ever be afraid to show who you are through your personal style.

If you absolutely love something, be creative and find a way to wear it.  One of the reasons I wanted to restyle this dress is because I wanted a different look from my engagement night look.  The other reason?  I had to.  The dress no longer properly fits as it once did.   My body post-pregnancy is just not the same...  So, challenging myself to do the "One Sweet Find:  5 Ways to Wear It" segment and just guessing the jacket and dress might complement each other turned out better than I ever expected!  (I never expected to have a place on Lauren Conrad's home page for a week!)  

Shop your closet.  I've had this BCBG dress in my closet for nearly 6 years now.  I had to search deep in my closet to find it!  I saved it because I have such a strong emotional tie to it and knew I just had to reuse it rather than letting it just take up space.

You don't have to spend a fortune to be chic!   I didn't spend a lot on this look at all.  I found this blush pink jacket at Target on the clearance rack for around $12!  Pretty crazy!   I had the belt from Banana Republic already and I'd bought the clutch at Target maybe a month before.  I've had the earrings for years and they are my favorites.

Here's a sampling of my other favorite looks and the "Lessons Learned"

Mix Patterns!  Before this, I would have been nervous about mixing polka dots on this skirt and zebra print. This turned out to be one of my favorite looks of all.

Don't Be Afraid of Bright Colors  I wore this neon pink J. Crew Factory shirt once before this and then hid it in my closet.  I just thought it was far too bright.   Paired with this muted brown/ivory sweater, the pink still has power but it's not quite as 'in your face' as it is by itself and I like that!

Suits:  Mix Them Up! (Don't Always Wear As-Is!)  I can't tell you how sick I am of many of my suits.  Too often, I wore them the traditional way - suit bottom and suit jacket with a solid color shirt.  It got really old!  Now, I am giving many of those suits to others who can use them more than I can.  It feels great!  I'm only keeping the suits or suit jackets that have a long life in my closet with many looks (jeans, with other skirts, etc.)  I used to wear this J. Crew Factory pinstripe skirt with the jacket every single time. I even have another one in a pant suit.  Time to mix that one up too!

Try the Unexpected (Even if You're Not Sure)  I loved this turquoise Mialisia necklace so much as it was, I wasn't sure about adding another strand of colorful beads to it.  However, I trusted my friend Autumn's style and I love the end result!   

Accessories Can Change Everything and Add that Extra "Something" to a Look

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sweet on Shoes

Thanks for checking out my blog!  Hope you have a great day.  Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest, if you like.

Shoes Loyal Shoes:   There are few things I love in my closet more than a pair of fabulous shoes.  Shoes, handbags and jewels are our most loyal pieces.  They don't care about the size of our hips or stomachs.  They fit when you gain or lose weight.  They can make such a bold statement they take even the most discerning eye away from any areas we are self-conscious about.  Many people say style begins at the bottom (the shoe) and works its way up.  

This spring and summer, there are so many shoes to love!  Ah, if I could have them all!   Here are the key trends I've highlighted here and all for $100 or less.  

Key Trends:  Floral, d'Orsay Flats (two-piece), Wedges, Bright Colors, Metallics and Perforated.

Fabulous Flats and Heels

Sweet on Shoes

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lauren Conrad's Chic of the Week

I am incredibly honored to be Lauren Conrad's Chic of the Week!  I've always loved her sense of style and I love her clothing line at Kohl's.  It is dream come true to have this honor!  I am truly on Cloud Nine!

Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.  Thanks for checking my blog out!  Comment with your blog address and I will follow you too.

Here is the look that got me this incredible honor.  I restyled my engagement dress for a night out.  Be sure to check the full write up by the amazing Allison Norton here on Lauren Conrad's site.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

Welcome, Spring!  

Day 5:  Blush Pink & White Lace

 It's officially spring (according to the calendar).  I still see quite a bit of snow outside my windows.  This outfit is some wishful thinking that the warm weather will soon follow.   I pulled this lace top deep out of my closet for this look.  Truth be told, I've had this BCBG top for 4 years and never worn it.   I bought it to wear for my bachelorette party but ended up wearing a black sundress instead.   I just wasn't sure what to pair it with until I found this blush pink jacket.  

The price of this blush pink jacket makes me blush just thinking about it!  I always scan the clearance racks at Target as I'm doing my errands to see if there's anything that catches my eye.  This absolutely caught my eye!  This blush pink jacket was marked down to around $12 on clearance.  It's one of my best deals of the season so far!  I searched for the same jacket on the Target site but had no luck finding it there.  I did, however, find some similar jackets at Kohl's for between $20 and $100. This Guess jacket at Bloomingdale's is a very close match.  It has more details (buttons on the sleeves and epaulets) and is priced at $118.

Photo:  John Gauvin/Studio One (from my wedding).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Blush Pink Jacket

Day 4:  Sparkly Baubles & Navy Suiting

 This might be one of my favorite looks of all time because it's incredibly ladylike.  I didn't honestly think I'd like the look of blush pink and navy so much.  They complement each other well.  As for the necklace, 
I bought it to meet Lady Antebellum behind the scenes.  (Below is the picture.)  I wanted a necklace that would sparkle and make a statement!  I wore it a bit shorter here and longer for the concert.

Blush Pink Jacket:  Target
Necklace:  Bauble Bar
Top:  Target
Skirt:  J. Crew Factory
Belt:  Banana Republic
Clutch:  Target

Friday, March 7, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Blush Pink Jacket

Day 3:  Leopard, Sequins & Blush Pink

 I pretty much love leopard with anything!  Here I wanted to use it to liven up the gentle blush pink color.  The silk subtle gold skirt is one I absolutely love.  I wore it to the Late Show with David Letterman 6 years ago in New York City on a 95 degree day; it felt about 40 degrees in the studio!  It was the first time Ben and I traveled to New York together. Aside from loving the way this skirt falls, I love the memories it carries along with it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Blush Pink Jacket

Day 2:  Gray Wool, Peach Baubles & Blush Pink

 I got this dress last year from Ann Taylor Loft online and it is warm and comfortable!  I've worn it the same way - with pearls - so many times I got sick of the dress.  So, it was refreshing to restyle it and add some new life to it.  I was almost ready to get rid of it but I am glad I didn't.  Again, it always pays to shop your closet!

Monday, March 3, 2014

One Sweet Find: 5 Ways to Wear It

The Blush Pink Jacket

Day 1:  Transforming My Engagement Dress

 I absolutely love this dress!  This is my second favorite dress (my favorite is my wedding dress).  It features silver lace over a blush pink skirt for a dreamy look.  I bought it at a BCBG Outlet in 2009 a few months before my now husband proposed to me.  When I saw the dress, I thought, "I'd love to get engaged in that dress!"  I honestly had little idea I actually would!  I almost wore it to a wedding instead but I don't like to wear anything even close to white at a wedding, so that saved me :)  (Below is the full engagement story.)

I've worn this dress a few times since my engagement, but I really wanted a different way to wear it.  (Plus, honestly, it doesn't fit quite the same post-pregnancy.)  This challenge of finding five ways to wear this blush pink jacket is really what sparked this combination.

Dress:  BCBG Outlet
Jacket:  Target
Belt:  Banana Republic
Collar:  Bloomingdale's Outlet
Clutch:  Target

My Engagement

July 2010 New York City / Cherry Hill in Central Park

My husband, Ben, surprised me and exceeded every expectation I had for our engagement.  The weekend of our engagement, I thought we were traveling to Boston for the Fourth of July.  Little did I know, Ben had made plans in New York City and had my engagement ring tucked in his pocket.  As soon as I found out we were traveling to New York City, I became suspicious he was proposing.  I thought he'd likely have the ring in his suitcase since I didn't think a jewelry box could fit in his pants pocket (that's where it was).  So, I was dismayed when we got on the train and he threw his bag on the overhead bin several seats away!

That night, we went to dinner at Tavern on the Green.  We sat outside on a hot July night under pastel lanterns hanging from the large trees. It was magical.  After dinner, Ben rushed out the front doors.  I wondered what he was in such a rush for - he had a horse-drawn carriage waiting to take us through Central Park.  The "driver" asked if we wanted to stop to take a picture at Cherry Hill.  That's where Ben proposed.  I was even more impressed when he pulled out my favorite jeweler's box (a wonderful friend, which made it even more special).  It was more than I could have ever imagined - and Ben is more than I could have ever imagined!

At the Phantom of the Opera the next day!