Welcome to the blog...
This space is all about seeking
EXCITED CHILLS and creating a
simple, authentic, beautiful life.
I do hope you'll stay a while!
It's almost August!
Here in the Northern Hemisphere...that means it's HOT!
Regarding wardrobes, the challenge is...
How to look great without melting?!
The difficulty stems from not being able to add the extra layer that would elevate the look. That additional piece that would pull the outfit together must be omitted in order to avoid roasting. What to do?...
Here are 6 ways to stay cool and look put together
even when it's hot!
1. Rely on lightweight fabrics made of natural fibers. The fabric will 'breathe' and you will look and feel cooler.
2. Add that third piece in the form of an accessory. A delicate necklace, cuff bracelet, unique belt, awesome bag or sheer scarf can create interest and provide texture without bulk.
3. Wear a great dress! The ultimate effortless garment. One piece and you're dressed. Depending on your preference go with a bold, interesting pattern or a classic solid or stripe. The detailing on the dress will provide the interest needed to keep the look from being basic or boring.
4. Select a top with an unusual shape or pattern. An unexpected neckline can even stand alone so a necklace isn't needed.
5. Try out a more minimalistic approach to dressing. Choose a classic tank top or v-neck tee with shorts or a simple skirt. Let the clean lines speak for themselves.
6. Embrace the 'soft pant'. Summer is a great time to give soft pants a try. Whether you pick patterned or solid; soft pants are fluid and easy. Pair with a lean, simple top and very little jewelry. Let the pants make a statement.
As the great Ella Fitzgerald reminds us, "Summertime, and the livin' is easy"
Forget anything that seems fussy. If it's too contrived, you'll feel and look out of place when it's super hot.
The beauty of summer dressing in is the simplicity. Embrace the fact that layers aren't necessary. Select pieces that can stand alone and look amazing. Go on...rock that sundress with a sleek pendant and a fabulous sandal!
Stay cool and thanks for reading.
About 5 years ago, I did something so impulsive and out of character that I am still in awe of myself when I think back on it. I was ready to face a fear head-on and I like to think I did it with style.
I’m sharing this experience because it was so helpful to me. My hope is that it might help someone who reads these words.
I have always struggled with feeling beautiful or sexy.
It’s not that I never heard those words…it’s more that I never felt them inside. In my mind, those adjectives described others, but not me.
To be fair, there were random, fleeting times in my life when I remember feeling gorgeous or sexy. Usually, while on vacation somewhere tropical…a little suntan and salty air worked together to make everything more sensual. And, I was relaxed and happy, which makes everyone more lovely.
Around the time I turned 40, I started to wonder if I could dig deep and find a sexier version of myself. I was finished having babies. Though, I should note that I actually felt very sexy for at least part of each of my pregnancies…probably due to the fact that I had real curves for the first time ever!
My new role of 'mom of three under four' was rightfully consuming me. Being a mom felt fabulous, but I didn’t feel or look fabulous. I began searching for a way to feel like a woman again…not just a mom. I was ready to find the adult, non-pregnant, non-nursing version of myself. I wasn’t sure how this would happen, but I knew it was time.
Enter the January 2010 issue of Redbook magazine. I still remember first seeing the article that set the ball in motion. Read the article by clicking the link below.
"I Posed for (Very) Sexy Photos"
By getting naked for the camera, no-nonsense mom Kimberly Ford rediscovered a part of herself she thought she'd lost forever.
I sat down to read about a woman named Kimberly and a photographer named TeresaNoraTrobbe.
Like any crazy idea that grabs you, this one started to grow almost immediately. I wanted to have boudoir photos taken! I hoped that posing for and seeing the images would help me to see myself in a new light.
The day after I read the article I emailed Teresa Nora Trobbe. I lived in Pennsylvania and she lives in California, so I asked if she could recommend anyone on the east coast who specializes in boudoir photography. That option didn't pan out, but there was a possibility that I would be on the west coast a few months later...so I didn't lose hope.
As it happens so often with moms, we lose a bit of ourselves when we become mothers. We don’t mind because what we gain is so huge that we let ourselves take a back seat. That’s fine for a while, but eventually it’s time to reclaim your personal style. Get your groove back, if you will.
I actually think that all women, with children or not, give so much to others that it can require some real soul-searching and stretching to find themselves again.
I was in search of the next me. I knew who I was as a mom. I knew how to dress like a mom. I wanted to step it up. I longed to see myself as beautiful…to feel beautiful. I was ready to discover where I was headed in my 40’s. What did I want to my look to be? Who was that new girl?
Here's how it happened that I finally began to acknowledge and appreciate my own beauty...
Matthew had to be in San Francisco for work in late spring. We decided that the kids and I would tag along and make it a working-vacation. I wanted to give him a book of boudoir photos for our anniversary in May.
I contacted Teresa again….and told her I was ready to book a day with her! It was magic. I rented a car. Drove with my three kids to Los Gatos, CA. The kids had their own mini-photo session (an incredible added bonus) and then spent the afternoon with a sitter. I had my session and we were back in
Noe Valley before Matthew knew we were gone.
Several photos from the kids' session hang in our home...
a welcome reminder of what I discovered that day.
My day with Teresa remains a very fond memory. As a result of that experience, I grew in ways I could not have imagined. Don't get me wrong,
I am not cured of insecurity about my physical appearance. Far from it.
But...I am more gentle with myself and more accepting. And I realize now that it's all in my attitude. That beauty and sexiness truly do come from inside.
I felt beautiful and sexy that day...because I chose to.
I realize that posing for boudoir photos probably isn’t for everyone. Stretching beyond the normal boundaries looks different to each of us.
I only know that for me, the leap allowed me to see myself in a new light.
I suddenly saw myself from a less critial angle. When I look at the book I gave to Matthew, I am reminded of the extreme bravery required of me
that day…and I smile at the girl I see in the photos.
She is sexy and beautiful. And she believes it.
What’s your stretch? What could you do to change the way you view yourself? To find the positive instead of the negative?
Don't wait...stepping out of your comfort zone could improve your self-image, forever:-)
If you have any questions about my crazy adventure…I’d be more than happy to share further. Just ask.
Thanks for reading.
Do you love your stay-at-home clothing?
Does your family see you looking 'put together' when you're in the house?
Can you answer the door proudly?
Is your 'hang-out' wardrobe accurately refecting your real style?
Yes? Good for you! And can you please email me your secret?!
No? Then read on....
I have a real problem with looking put together when I am at home. I have struggled with this for years. I'm not exactly sure why this is an issue for me...but it is! Big time.
This area of dressing is a bit of a lost category for me. Not workout clothes, not pajamas, not work clothes.
I guess I'm not really sure what I want to wear when I'm hanging at home.
Part of my issue stems from a desire (maybe too strong) to be comfortable...at all costs. Another reason could be that I don't want to spend much money on my 'home clothes'. And somewhere in there must be an issue with feeling worth it...so much psychology around just getting dressed!
I follow a wonderful account on Instagram - @alifeunstyled. It's written by a lovely young woman named Vanisha Mishra-Vakaoti. I also read her blog periodically. She is very interactive on IG which I like...especially since she is in New Zealand. So, it feels a bit exotic to be 'friends' with someone so far away!
Earlier this week, her Instagram post began..."What do you wear on your days off?" Since I have recently been thinking about my pathetic home clothes, I replied to her post in hopes that doing so might help hold me accountable and finally push me to make some long needed changes.
When she replied she included the link to a post she wrote in October, 2014 - What I Wear at Home - I wanted to share it...Click here to for a look.
I decided to create a challenge for myself. A bit scary since I've been stuck in this rut for years!
By September 1st, I will own a carefully edited collection of easy, effortless home clothing...that I will actually wear! This timeline allows me to define my new style, create a fund for this endeavor, see what pieces I already own that will work for this purpose, purchase what I'm really wanting...and start wearing it!
Phase 1 - Seek inspiration. Find images online and in magazines that echo how I'd like to dress at home. Create an imaginary image for my at-home self.
Phase 2 - Create a budget exclusively for these pieces. I promise to save for the purpose of spending the money on a few great pieces. I will not be lured into spending these funds on work clothes...as is usually the case.
Phase 3 - I will spend a day 'just looking'. I'll check out what's available in stores. Deciding which pieces will help build my at-home wardrobe. I'll shop my own closet to see what I already own that can be used to complete my new look!
Phase 4 - My super stylish (and super honest) daughter and I will go shopping! Buying only things that I truly love. Sticking to pieces that fit the look I have created in my mind. I'll limit my purchase to just two or three outfits. Making sure that all of the garments work together for easy dressing!
Phase 5 - Here's the sticky part... I will toss all of the old, downgraded clothing that was my stay-at-home uniform and actually wear my awesome new home outfits!
Sounds big. Yet, I'm beyond ready. I have a sizable birthday later this year and it seems high time I started dressing like chic adult when I am at home.
Want to join me on this journey? I'd love it! I will be posting my progress on Instagram. It would be a great boost to know that you are doing the work with me! Or...if you've got this down, I'd love to know what you're wearing on your day off!
Wish me luck...
Thanks for reading.
I’ve just returned from a wonderful week at the beach. And, while everything fit into
my carry-on luggage, there were many pieces that I just didn’t need or wear.
As a stylist, I know better and yet I still came home with unworn clothes!
I tend to forget that the vibe for our family-beach-getaway is always extremely laid-back, easy, and casual. Since I don't live at the beach, my beach wardrobe is much different than what I typically wear at home. I love my vacation clothes...they feel like VACATION! When packing, I failed to realize that I'd want to wear my favorite sundress more than once while I was away.
On this annual trip, there is no reason to dress up…simple and relaxed
is always the dress code.
So, I’m taking my own advice. Following a getaway, I advise my clients to make a list of the things they take, but don’t actually wear. I just made my list. I saved it to my calendar on our return date so I can refer to it next year.
I've created a Travel Wardrobe Planner to guide me when creating travel outfits. This worksheet is helpful when I'm packing for clients or myself. The PDF is yours free...
just click on the link below.
If you are headed to a destination by the sea…
I offer these tips to keep your packing light.
1. Take simple, comfortable sandals or flip flops…and running shoes, if you run.
My go-to travel shoes are white converse for the plane and sightseeing that requires
a lot of walking.
2. Pack dresses or loose fitting pants that make you feel fabulous. Flowy, gauzy,
relaxed dressing keeps you cool when it’s hot and humid. Wide leg pants worn with
a lean tank are always chic.
3. Wear shorts or casual skirts with tanks and tees for lunch and shopping.
4. Remember, air conditioning and evenings on the beach can be chilly. Take a
sweater or sexy, slouchy sweatshirt.
5. Go lighter on make-up. Before a fashion show in college, a make-up artist told me, ‘Make-up doesn’t look good on tan or sunburned skin’. She was right. Pare down your beauty routine to include a great moisturizer and sunscreen, something sparkly for lips or eyes, mascara...and a bronzer.
6. Use a body lotion with some shimmer- I have a favorite. It's a L’Occitane lotion.
Creme Scintillante (luminous body cream) Sadly, it's been discontinued. Yet, I had to mention it because if you see it in your travels...buy it! Honestly. It smells amazing, is wonderfully moisturizing and has just a touch of sparkle. It’s so good!
Click here for a free copy of my Travel Wardrobe Planner.
This basic chart helps to keep me organized when
I'm creating outfits and packing.
Oh, how I wish for another chance to pack light and head to the beach. Until then,
I'll continue to plan incredible vacation wardrobes in my head...and on Pinterest:-)
I'm always here if you have questions. Just ask...
Thanks for reading.