fashion, inspiration, lifestyle, reflections

Must-Reads for Fashion & Style Enthusiasts!

I’m a huge list-maker – wishlists, to-do lists, to-buy lists – you name it, I’ll have a list on it! During this time of year, I make sure to have a diverse wishlist for myself to share with friends & family (especially since my birthday just passed and the Holiday season is officially here – it just makes it easier, y’know?). This time, I figured it would be nice to create wishlists that even you can use!

I was recently gifted a book from my wishlist that I’m so incredibly excited to read: Fashion 2.0: Blogging Your Way to The Front Row. I started this blog with that goal (to push it to bigger & better things) and ever since the blogging industry has blossomed tremendously, I realized I needed a boost and a little help to get there, so this book will definitely come in handy!

Here is my list of must-reads for Fashion & Style enthusiasts all around, from informative guides and history lessons to stories with a fashion setting! These are in no particular order and are amongst the top-rated in their categories.

1. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

Because obviously. I mean honestly, if you haven’t read this book and/or watched the movie, you absolutely need to do so. Right now. I mean it!

2. Tale of the Elves and the Shoemaker by Manolo Blahnik / Tale of Sleeping Beauty by Christian Lacroix / Tale of the Empress’s New Clothes by DVF

Christian Lacroix, Diane Von Furstenberg and Manolo Blahnik took a few spins by bending their careers to the plots of these classic fairytales. The fairytale stories come with some of the most beautiful illustrations you’ll lay your eyes on. A lovely addition to your bookcase! 

3. Closer By Scott Schuman

Though “Closer” mostly consists of photographs, it’s still a must-have, especially if you’ve been a follower of Scott Schuman since the beginning! The pioneer of street style photography, the book is filled with a collection of his best work to help you better understand where his journey all began. 

4. The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake

The scene is 1970s Paris, and the story explains the rivalry between two of fashion’s most influential men, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. The feud – which you may not have known of beforehand – reveals a tale of social ambitions, beautiful fashion and raw talent. Truly inspirational! 

5. If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You by Kelly Cutrone

Fashion is a tough industry, and famous PR maven Kelly Cutrone tells it like it is, because who else will? Some may find her too harsh but I love her blunt, honest personality. The memoir details a sometimes brutal industry and how Cutrone rose to the top with nothing standing in her way. 

6Fashion A to Z by Alex Newman and Zakee Shariff

Bringing together all the key words commonly used in colleges and in industry, this fashion reference book is beautifully illustrated with diagrams and drawings of fashion details and costumes that bring the subject to life.

7. Vogue: The Editor’s Eye by Conde Nast

This essential coffee-table book showcases the work of eight of Vogue‘s most legendary fashion editors, pairing beautiful photographs (by the world’s most renowned fashion photographers) with exceptional interviews with each editor.
We can talk about Alexander McQueen for hours on end, as there’s so much to be said about the life and beautiful work of the legendary designer. This book breaks down his collections and reveals the often-personal inspiration behind his visions. 
Let this book be the illustrated Iliad to the men in your life looking for a boost in their style endeavors. Owning this sends a very clear message to those in your life… that you know what’s up.
The perfect companion for any fashionista – or anyone interested in a better understanding of the fashion world – this book covers 200 years of fashion history, perfect for both fashion enthusiasts and a general audience.
Rachel Zoe has been one of my biggest inspirations for as long as I can remember, so it’s natural that this book is on my list! Hollywood’s hottest celeb stylist, Rachel Zoe shares insider tips to the art of a fashionable, red-carpet-worthy lifestyle. 
This is the first book I was gifted upon discovering I wanted to take fashion seriously, as in delve into a career path. An absolute must-read for anyone interested in fashion, the book is filled with inspirational stories from aspiring designers, stylists, editors, photographers and models all about how to journey into a fashion-filled life.
Do you own any of these books? Are any on your list or do you have any that you’d like to share?

lifestyle, reflections

How to be More Confident

This isn’t exactly a *fashion* post but it can certainly have an effect on the way we showcase fashion and style in our everyday lives.

I’ve been somewhat of a reserved person throughout my life, and it wasn’t until I moved away from home a few years that I broke out of my shell and learned to be a social butterfly, feeling more confident with myself. I still actively work to improve my social skills and self-confidence, qualities that I feel everyone should possess to their greatest capacity. This isn’t easy, of course, especially with the media nowadays and how it can alter one’s perspective on self-image; but it is definitely doable / fixable.

I’ve compiled eight useful tips on how to become more confident in the way you feel and how you present your self, as well as when conversing and interacting with others. I hope these pointers benefit you in some way or another – please let me know if they do or if you have any methods of your own that you’d like to share!

Practice confident body language.

Body language can make a huge difference in the way others perceive you as well as how you feel. Even faking confident body language will eventually lead to actual self-confidence – I’ve tried it, it works. This means you should strike your Wonder Woman / Superman pose, stand up straight, push your shoulders back, puff up your chest, and throw your hands on your hips (how many times have you heard a few of these remarks from your parents?! I know I have plenty). I’m serious, though; take up as much space as you can. This strong, powerful stance will make you feel confident even when you aren’t. Don’t slouch or drop your chin or you may lose that confidence and it will show. 
Make eye contact and hold it.

I’ve had someone say that I look at people too much when I talk to them, but I never understood this or saw it as a negative thing. Where am I suppose to look? Off in the other direction? I find that awkward and quite rude. Don’t be the first person to look away in a conversation. It might sound strange to just stare into someone’s eyes, but I’m not telling you to do it as if you’re reaching deep into their soul. What actually IS creepy is making eye contact and quickly looking away. This will make it seem like you’re lying about what you’re saying or you’re nervous/ashamed. (you know those with ‘shifty eyes’). 
Smile.


I’ve also had someone say I smile too much or at random times / people; and again, what is wrong with being a pleasant, happy person?! I don’t see any harm in smiling often so long as you’re not… well… being a creep about it (super long stare + eerie smile = eh, no). With that said, be sure to smile, not only with your mouth, but your eyes as well (someone once told me I had smiling eyes which I found to be the absolute sweetest remark!) This is not something you should fake, however, like body language, because one can easily tell a fake smile apart from a genuine one. For instance, can you tell which of the above is my genuine smile versus a fake one? I really hope so or this is just awkward… But the key to displaying an honest smile is to actually have something to smile about. For me, call it cheesy but I smile about, well, life, which is probably why I smile so often! I don’t exactly need a specific reason; but when there is one, you’ll get a huge one from me. Think happy thoughts. Kittens (that gets me big time). Your love. Your favorite vacation spot. You get the idea! If that seems too difficult for you, fake it until you convince yourself you are happy (it has to work). 
Don’t nod and fidget.

A confident person doesn’t fidget. You don’t see James Bond playing with his cuff links. Similarly, don’t nod your head so much when someone is talking to you. It makes you look desperate to appease them. Instead, keep eye contact and smile.
Pause before speaking.

This is something I need to work on more. It’s not that I intentionally want to interrupt someone, but I get so excited with my thoughts at times that I tend to blurt them out before waiting (oops). We need to process what our sender is saying before we proceed to respond. Take two seconds to sort out what has been said, and let yourself react afterwards (facial expressions tell all). You will come across as more sincere and a great listener, instead of a passive one who is simply waiting for your turn to speak (which is a big no-no!) 
Let others impress you. This will in turn impress them.

Everyone likes to feel good about themselves. That’s the whole point of this post after all! I make it a priority to ask about others’ day and not be shy about giving out compliments. Make it a priority of yours to actively listen to what is being said as well as how it’s being said, and respond accordingly. Practice this when you’re ordering coffee or buying groceries by asking the cashier how their day is going and/or complimenting them on something. If you mangle the interaction, no worries, you try again next time!
Dress nicely, walk like you own the place.


American businesswoman and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics once said “While clothes may not make the woman, they certainly have a strong effect on her self-confidence, which, I believe, does make the woman“. I couldn’t agree with this more and they’re words I (do my best to) live by everyday. Whether you like it or not, people make their initial judgements about you based on your body language as well as what you’re wearing, so… you better make a damn good impression! Fashion (or rather, style) is something each individual possesses uniquely, though, so wear something that you feel comfortable in. Now this doesn’t mean you should slack off and wear sweatpants everywhere you go because they’re, well, comfortable (seriously, don’t do it). Don a new pair of heels or a classic LBD and own every step you take in them as if you’re walking a runway show (I love how supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio – above – always makes a grand entrance on the runway with her hands in the air, pretty much demanding attention – in a good way of course). Not saying you should strut around in a bikini, but demand the attention of others and don’t be afraid to show own it and show your confidence. I’ll go more into detail on dressing to feel more confident in another post since that’s a very lengthy topic that I’d love to dive into!

Exercise.

Another goal of mine that I have quite the difficult time sticking to is exercise, mostly because I’m very picky about which forms I decide to partake in. I promise you though, if you stick to some sort of routine, you will look better (obviously) but feel incredible as well, which is the key here. Exercise is one of the greatest ways to boost your self-esteem, as it does a great job in making you look great as well as stay energized, releasing endorphins to make you happier and feeling more alive. Start with the basics by running, doing some sit-ups and even meditating or practicing yoga (which I love).

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lifestyle, reflections

New Year’s Wishlist: Blog Edition

This past semester was the first time I’ve had such a heavy load of schoolwork at a brand new school where I finally started focusing on my major all while working at Betsey Johnson 20-30+ hours/week. It was hectic and unfortunately didn’t allow me to stick to the goals I had for my blog. Although I had a great year in blogging, I definitely strived to do better, and would like to do so even further for 2012. For this upcoming New Year, I, like many of you I’m sure, have set up a detailed list of resolutions that I plan on being very persistent towards, all while keeping myself busy, focused on school, working, and somehow finding time to still socialize! 

The new year is one of the best times to look back on your previous times, whether it be blogging, your education, your career, or yourself in general. What did you find yourself doing too much of? Was there something that didn’t occur enough? What did you not make a priority that you now believe you should have? In general, I love looking at the New Year as a chance to change things, even though I’m constantly thinking about how I can improve on a daily basis. Nonetheless, here are ten resolutions that I’ve set – and you can to – for making my blogging journeys better than ever before. 


❤ Focus on quantitative goals rather than qualitative goals. I definitely need to dive into the blogging world more when it comes to building relationships with other fellow bloggers, which will, in turn help me out, too. For instance, goals like leaving 200 comments a month, adding 5 new pages to my blog roll per month, and hosting a kick-ass event to celebrate my blog – these will only motivate me to keep going even further and will leave me with a great feeling of accomplishment. 

❤ Make your resolutions time specific. Set smaller, short term goals instead of unrealistic ones that can actually stress you out. Just as I mentioned above, leaving 200 comments a month is much more achievable than driving yourself to leave 500+ comments.

❤ Stick to the motivation behind why you began to blog. Whether it’s self-inspirational or you feel the need to share your interests and/or fashion knowledge with others – no matter what the reason may be, take time to reconnect with it. This will definitely help keep you motivated; after all, if we have little or no motivation to work on something, well, it won’t get done!

❤ Don’t ever compare your successes or failures to other bloggers – this is YOUR work! It’s very easy as a blogger to compare your work to others, especially considering the amount of blogs and articles we read per day. But they aren’t you! When thinking about all of your ambitions, only take into account yourself and who you are writing for (even if you are only writing for yourself – that’s completely fine!) Don’t ever feel the need to have a thousand ads because another does and especially don’t feel obliged to showcase your statistics – who is asking!? 

❤ Don’t feel obligated to join every single new social media site. It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from. I’m definitely guilty of this – this past year alone, I’m pretty sure I’ve joined every single fashion networking site and I only find myself going back to a few of them. Know which ones you feel most comfortable in, you will use the most, and can reach out to others in the greatest way to better impact you and your blog. This way, you can actually put your energy and full devotion into building up those relationships in a genuine way. 

❤ Build sincere relationships. Blogging is an activity or job that we do on our own, so it’s definitely very easy to feel like you are isolated and disconnected from others, especially since we mostly sit on our computers to do it all! Building up relationships with other bloggers, local boutiques, PR companies and readers can be quite the challenge but is very rewarding when doing so. 

❤ Conquer and master your fears. The blogging world is rapidly growing, especially in the styling sense. I’m sure we are constantly obsessing over bloggers who showcase their daily outfits with extensive details on what they are wearing, all shown off in high-quality photographs. Remember, for the most part, these fashion enthusiasts aren’t professional photographers, they just practice! Get over your fear by finding tutorials and practice until you’ve perfected it! We have to be mini-experts in many fields as bloggers, so go on and start learning! 

❤ Learn the boring, yet important, things. You may know absolutely nothing about web design, HTML, CSS, or coding, but these factors can play a huge role into readers coming back to your site. I’ve taken the time to learn the basics that can make my blog stand out from others, whether it’s knowing how to center my header perfectly, choosing a shade of pink that isn’t too blinding regardless of what web browser you use, or what font is pleasing to my audience. Grab a tech-savvy friend, have them teach you the ins and outs and you’ll notice a difference! 

❤ Put yourself out there with someone you want to work with. It’s obviously easy to sit back  and wait for people to come flocking to you and your amazing blog. But you need to pitch yourself to that blogger, brand, company, or designer that you’ve been dying to work with. Shoot them an e-mail – say who you are, how you can work together, and why you would be a good fit. The worst they can say is they are not interested and the best that can happen is a brand spankin’ new connection, internship, or job! 

❤ Take time off when you really need it. And tell your readers. Burning out from blogging is normal, as it’s easy to fill every free moment of our lives with it. It’s important to give ourselves credit, a pat on the back, and sit back to enjoy life for a bit. Enjoy a night out with friends, go on vacation to forget about your site for a day or two, or simply take up another hobby or interest that you can fill up your time with. This isn’t to say blogging is negatively strenuous, but it’s definitely tiresome! Just don’t forget to let your readers know if you go on a hiatus – this is something I definitely need to do more often. 

Look out for my next post featuring looks to wear for this New Year – whether you’re keeping it low-key by relaxing with friends or partying the night away, I’ve got you covered! Along with some tweaks to my page and more to come in 2012, stay tuned (:

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lifestyle, reflections

work on your art.

When it comes to gloomy weather, there’s nothing more that I would like to do than sleep. I know, it’s terrible! I’ve decided to make an early New Year’s resolution to not waste time – no matter what – and to be the most productive I can possibly be. There are a number of things that separate each blogger – and person, of course – from the next, and one thing I find to be on the top of that list is musical taste.

Continue reading “work on your art.”