fashion. wine. design... and my life.

Posts Tagged ‘advice’

Ready. Set. Click. Yes, she Canon!

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2015 at 1:18 pm

unnamedIntuitively creative and artistic, eh?

Those in my circle would offer that as an assessment of my current photography skills… and humbly, I would  agree.

Attracted to every aspect of photography… countless hours of snapping images, reading, studying other photographers and web searching have been invested.  Haha — an abundance of trial and error indeed — if you only knew how I have pained over creating bokeh in my compositions!

Self- taught, and a decent photographer… I know that the information untapped is considerable.  Still perplexed by aperture, still perfecting composition and working my camera in manual mode, the mission of becoming astute continues to be the goal.

Action plan?

Check!

The action plan has been implemented and it is time for that next step… one that is LONG overdue.

Actually, it should read as such:  L. O. N. G. OVERDUE… for commencing tomorrow, yours truly is beginning studies as a student in the Washington School of Photography, Professional Photography Program.

Shhhhhh.  Listen carefully… you can hear me shouting from the rooftops…“Oh freaking happy day!”

All things happen for a reason…. and the reason that this endeavor hasn’t happen sooner, will perhaps one day be revealed.  I know for certain that timing is crucial; patience even more so.  Especially since two years prior, I participated in conversations with the program registrar and opted out — knowing that a “right-fit” wasn’t right then.

Since that conversation, the signs indicating that I needed to move forward, have been everywhere.   Even more so now…

How does one describe that feeling… the feeling of knowing that the moment is now right.  Elated?!  Yep… elated!

Big picture though…  29 days ago, my 45th birthday was celebrated.

For me, birthdays offer wonderful opportunities to be relished by loved ones, reflect on accomplishments and roadmap the way for new birthday wishes made.

Since turning 40 in the midst of an awful snowstorm… celebrating with friends and family in Paris on my 42nd birthday and shaving my head on my 43rd birthday, that day, 7 February, serves as momentum for newness.

More important, the wisdom that is gained with each passing birthday, I am truly compelled to share.  Since I am constantly learning from others, my hope is that perhaps someone; mainly my two children and especially my daughter (who, even though she will not admit it, is always carefully watching her mother’s actions) can possibly gain something from my experiences.

Back to the big picture…

Tomorrow marks more that just the beginning of a photography program.  It marks the notion that all things are possible and it is NEVER too late to pursue your aspirations!

Back in late December of 2014, serious preparations for this program officially went into play.  All with the objective of pursuing a dream and entering another birthday with a next step of improvement secured — fulfilling a wish made.

In being transparent, the African proverb – It takes a village – is applicable to me.  Without embarrassment I say that even at 45 years of age and working full-time outside of the home, the financial investment of family has enabled this opportunity to become reality.  For that, I am eternally grateful… and deeply touched that they too share my dream and see my potential.

More transparency…

What used to embarrass me and cause me angst in conversation is no more.  Never a untruth told… I just artfully evaded the question or skillfully used semantics in my favor when answering… but truth be told, I did not graduate from college.  For a long list of reasons (some 23 years later, many of which now seem so frivolous) the years spent at The College of William and Mary did not yield a degree… instead, a wealth of knowledge, an unforgettable experience, a close circle of friends, a compassionate man who became my husband and a career in interior design.  Haha — perhaps I did graduate, eh?!

Sans degree, I still know that knowledge is key and educating/investing in yourself is a nonnegotiable.

So… with the many hats that I wear, I am eager to add another and take my photography to the next level.  When my children become adults and coherent to rhythms of adult life, I am hoping that my actions make them proud.  I am hoping that they view me as a role model and see my appetite to improve myself as tenacious… and in their own life, they too follow suit.

This past Christmas, my husband gifted me with a phenomenal 50mm lens for my camera.  His way of offering me a nudge in the direction of my goals.  His words… “Kisha, you are about to blow up!”  My interpretation of his words… in a true T.I fashion, “do it, do it, do it… whatcha waiting for?  Big things poppin’!”

I’m on the move… and my appetite for photography is ravenous.

And… over this year-long program, I intend on quenching it and getting full!

Taking it one step further, my life as a stella & dot stylist and the company mission have definitely been a fantastic influence on my photography ventures… that mission:  to give EVERY woman the means to style their own life.

Well here I go… here I go!

Ahem… what was that?  Did you say you needed to hire me to take your picture?  (wink. wink)

Soon…

Very soon.

Cheers!

-k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A flavorful love story… #kbrsips

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2014 at 1:13 pm

unnamed
With an abundant appreciation of its taste and a constant desire to experience more, I am forever on the prowl for a great bottle of wine.

Experimentation is the norm…. and with many successes, and a considerable amount of fails, the actions of the hunt, are always enjoyable.

Inhale… sip… taste.

Inhale… sip… taste… it is my dance routine with wine.

A dance, that depending upon the wine, varies.  It can be as varied as an electric and fast-paced hip-hop… or, a sultry and seductive tango.  Through these assorted dances, my palate grows, matures and ripens for more.

It has to be obvious…

If not, let me be the first to declare that I am definitely attracted to process of discovering a great bottle of wine.  Haha… a love affair has blossomed, eh?!

With all of my experimenting, the names of wines that I want to remember and experience again, continues to increase.  Too many to commit to memory.  Thank goodness for social media and smart phones, for this is how I have been capturing them… via images… one bottle at a time.

And after a recent scroll through my Instagram account, it appears that I am writing… or should I say documenting, my flavorful love story!

This past weekend, a friend told me that while looking for a wine to bring over to my house, she scrolled through my @kbrstyles Intsagram feed to ensure that she picked a “good one”… one that was sure to please my observant palate.

Her words quickly brought to mind others who have similar sentiments.

Wine posts have sparked people to reach out to me to either say that they used my Instagram feed or Facebook page in the same manner, or to offer a me recommendations based on a wine that was posted.  With social media, the broad and swift reach of a mere picture simply amazes me!  Even with texting… I can’t even begin to tell you about the amount of  texted pics that pour in (and the ones that I send out) –all with the understanding that this is a must;  seek and try!

All of THAT, got me to thinking…

Instead of having to scroll through 1689 (and adding more daily) pictures of an Instagram feed… why not just make it a lil’ easier.  This flavorful love story just became so much easier to read… that’s right…I’ve got me a hashtag baby!  (Suddenly, the hilarious skits with Jimmy Fallon now come to mind…)

Introducing my very own, personalized, nod to my flavorful love story hashtag:  #kbrsips — BAM!

Hashtags… what in the hell took me so long??

Actually, it should have been a no-brainer… especially since with my own social media endeavors, I use them all of the time!   Hashtags are the new and improved way to bookmark your topic and make to so much easier to find… right?  All together now… “Duh!”

Hump… so now what?  I’ve got this snazzy hashtag… and what’s next?

For starters, my pictorial wine journal is now only a click away — quick reference — newly organized and always accessible via my smart phone.  Kinda like an uber personalized wine app, eh?  If you love wine as I do… then certainly you are sending congratulatory kudos my way!

Next, perhaps you too will be checking in on #kbrsips and finding a new discovery… a gem to add to your personal collection… and commenting with your favorites.  Remember… I am always on the prowl.

Why check out #kbrsips?

Well… truth be told, it is because I am not a renowned wine sommelier… I’m real, everyday people… just trying to find something sensational to appease my curious palate. I speak about wine in layman’s terms and love, love, LOVE when others are able to enjoy one of my findings.

Pssst… and I crave the recommendations that come my way.

Yep, it is…

Simple. As. That.

With all of the years that I have been experimenting, I’m absolutely stimulated knowing that there is so much more wine to conquer.  Bottle by bottle I am documenting this journey.  And need I say… the aspiring photographer in me is encouraged… for with each wine picture post, I’m showing improvement!

Hmmmm… now that I think about it further… who knows…

When my children are of age to partake in a fabulous glass of wine, they too might even research #kbrsips for their pick!

Haha!  And THAT would be f#*@ing awesome!

Cheers!

-k

 

That’s my pen…

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm

pen2Pentel.

ENERGEL.

Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

As of late… that’s my pen of choice.

In true “Bob Dole” fashion, I’ve always kept a good writing utensil close at hand.

An Army officer for a father, this practice, along with the notion that one should have a signature with “strength”, was subconsciously ingrained in me as a child.  I’m certain that my artistic abilities heightened the attraction for “all things” that made a mark.  But…evolving with age, it wasn’t until the high school years, that I became utterly obsessed — naaaaah — probably more like, enchanted with pens.

Fellow lovers of pens… you know how we do, eh?

The aisles at Staples stop us in our tracks.

Truth be told… it is any pen aisle in any store that will cast this magnetic draw.

Even if we are loyal to a brand, just gazing at the potential possibilities keeps us entranced… like a toddler exploring a new toy, it is both eye and hand candy!  Weak, I say!  Haha… it is a weakness, that is also exhilarating!  Annnnnnd with that “weakness”… referencing my initial statement; you HAVE to be a lover of pens to comprehend.

As a pen devotee, I am giddy… rather proud to say that in early March of this year, I won an Instagram contest sponsored by #pentelofamerica, my FAVORITE brand of pens.  

photo-1.PNG

Script on paper, with a quick nod to the past Washington DC blizzard like conditions, earned me several new free writing goodies!  Who knew that $250 in brand spanking new writing tools, delivered to my door… could have the same impact as the first sip of a fabulous glass of wine!

Haha… I’m spinning off course.  So all embellishments aside…

There is power in a pen.

A good writing pen.

One that effortlessly accentuates and enhances your handwriting.  One that simply glides as you write…  where the weight and size of the pen feels fabulous in your hand.  One that is attractive in its appearance… absolutely showing no signs of grime.  One that dispenses theeeeeeeeeeee “perfect” ink.  And one that puts that “professional” stamp and emphasis on what you do.

Did you get that last statement?

(Enter the mildly OCD me… the me with a few pen “pet peeves”)

That last statement is the true power.

Within a professional environment, a good pen… a good writing pen matters.  Simple as that!

The professional setting?

The full gamut of professional environments…. which includes any setting from the grocery store, to the doctor’s office, to schools, restaurants, retail establishments… you get where I’m going, right?   In a professional setting, don’t you dare require my signature/ask me to complete a form and then extend a pen that lessens the experience with your business.  (Actually, my one exception is automotive repair shops… with their hands embedded in oil changes and such, they can’t help the muck that accumulates on their pens).

I get that “lessens”  could read as such a harsh word.  Sooooo, without sounding haughty or arrogant, for truly, I’m only talking about a “pen”… I offer this anecdote.

With my career as an interior designer, it is common for my design firm to finish the month with a half of a million dollars (or plus) in sales.  The cost of our product, coupled with the amount money generated in sales, absolutely sets the tone for the “expected” experience with my firm.

While projects, as well as the final price for a project vary, the experience offered to each client is fair and consistent.  It is a full design service experience.  Naturally, each client tailors the service to suit their individual project needs… but completing the project, while protecting the “experience” is always priority.  And with the interior design field… it is an aesthetic experience.  One that begins with the initial designer/client meeting… and ends with the client “signing” on the dotted line.

Circling back to the power of the pen…

Such a tiny component of the experience.  Most may not even make the connection… or, bet yet, realize the relevance.

But how, as a professional, does one present a project (possibly in a range of thousands of dollars), engage the client and secure their “by-in”… and then… (wait for it)… extend a pen for their signature that reads “Suzi-Q’s hot-buttered Muffins”… you feel me?

It’s important.  It matters.  And albeit a minor element to the big picture… it matters!

It must matter… for in my professional world, I am a stickler for my writing tool.

So much so that, since my firm provides their own type of pen, I have always (since being employed with them) personally purchased my own pen of choice.  Nothing extravagantly expensive either…. a pack of 7 of my tool of choice may cost about $9 or $10 bucks.

What’s wrong with always wanting to be prepared… armed…  and ready to enhance the momentum of the “experience”.

Sounds silly, eh?

So if I tell you that several at my company have followed suit… does it still sound silly?

Surely this is applicable to other areas in both personal and professional worlds.  Curious if you too might share this belief…

I always have a pen.

Pentel.

ENERGEL.

Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

My pen.

Haha… and don’t be offended if when you extend yours, I reach for mine.

Cheers!

-k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RED lips are…

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm

redlipSophisticated.  CHIC.  Classic.  STRIKING.  Powerful.  Timeless.  Utterly SEXY.

And… ABSOLUTELY, one of my favorite things!

What I know to be true is this:

E V E R Y woman can wear a red lip.

and…

E V E R Y woman should have at least one kick ass tube of red lipstick that effortlessly compliments her complexion.

Can’t believe that since starting this blog in 2011, that this is only my second post on the subject.  Considering how long I have been attracted to red lips, it should have been my introductory post, as well as every other post there after.  Ladies (and gentlemen) the passion is serious… I am a hard core fan.

HARD CORE!

There is no special occasion needed for me to don a red lip.  Haha — just ask my children.  5:30am in the morning, still wearing my pj’s, making lunches for school?  Check.  Off to work, or dinner with friends?  Check.  Sitting around the house with my husband?  My traditional “MD to Italy”  wine Skype session with my BFF? Or my favorite stella & dot Insatgram shots?

Check… check… CHECK!

I honestly don’t think about the occasion or the action of applying the lipstick — I just do it.  Kinda second nature for me now, eh?  Breaking it down to elementary terms:

red lips, simply make me happy.

Something about seeing my lips painted red… it provides an immediate energy.  And don’t even get me started on the energy that erupts upon seeing another woman wearing a stunning red lip… especially when she got it right!  Haha — it makes me wanna walk up to her and scream “DAMN!” while giving her a hearty high-five!

Several women have left impressionable and memorable “red lip” moments.

In college, two of my friends named Jane and Kim kept my eyes alert  — I watched (and still do via facebook posted pics), better yet, studied their precision and technique.  Currently,  Ms. Tracee Ellis Ross (who has forever reminded me of my baby sis), constantly keeps my heart fluttering.  She is my newly crowned “red lip icon”… the QUEEN; for she ALWAYS gets it right!

But hands down, my late grandmother, Ruth E. Brown gets all of the credit.

She was/is my first memory — my inspiration and teacher.  The absolute EPITOME of a red lip and my sustained standard for judgement when making my determinations.  Wonder if she knew just how many times I practiced with her lipstick and then carefully wiped away ALL evidence of any tampering.

Her influence created yet another lover of reds…. and I’m thinking that my grandmother would be proud of my endeavors.

Through research and experimentation, I have discovered what works for me.    In a true “pay it forward” fashion, I’m sharing my learnings with the hopes that another woman might become newly acquainted with her favorite red lipstick.  And of course, sport a gorgeous RED lip!

So…. what I have learned over the years boils down to three things:

ONE.  Only wear reds that suit your skin tone.

Why bother with anything else?? Just in the same manner that we dress and wear clothes that flatter our body shape, the same holds true for make-up/red lipstick.  If you are uncertain about your skin tone/undertones, for a minimal fee at most department stores, you could get a professional consultation.  For me, cooler reds (ones with blue undertones) suit me perfectly.  And since making that discovery — I stay in that color lane and I do not stray.

My favorites?

The unbeatable BEST, knock it out the box, works EVERY TIME color is MAC’s Ruby Woo.  I have YET to meet a woman who couldn’t wear this color.  It is like blood type O+… it is a universal donor!  Trust me and just do as I say…  IF you don’t own it, you need to order this color – ASAP!  You can wear it alone, or, you can use it as a base for other colors.  It is long lasting and it yields the most  the intense, bold red color is scrumptious… and damn near unforgettable.  Ruby Woo is the Ironman of all red lipsticks.  It just is!

Another favorite is Chanel 99 Pirate.  It reminds me of Ruby Woo… just a smidgen creamier.  The color is vintage and sleek.  #99 is so very old Hollywood… big sunglasses and head wraps.  An elegant color, but packed with attitude!  While I have worn this color alone, I mainly use it as the top layer over Ruby Woo.  The two lipsticks combined are a beautiful marriage and the color that is produced is exceptional.

SECOND.  The application process shouldn’t be painstaking or tedious.

When it comes to make-up, especially lipstick, you can Google search scores of ways to apply.  I’m not a make-up artist… but what I do know is that:  if it involves more than “apply lipstick to a clean lip”,  I am NOT interested.

The easier the better… clean lip, a very, very, very light amount of lip balm as a conditioning base and then apply your rep lip color.  BAM – that’s all she wrote!  Side note though.  If you apply a coat of red, blot/purse lips on a paper towel and then reapply your red… you will have a longer lasting lip.  I’m just saying…

THIRD.  Keep your red lip matte and refrain from adding gloss… you know, GLOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

No “wet-n-wild” lips please.  Otherwise… well, you run the risk of possibly looking a bit too scandalous suggestive racy risque?  And just like Forrest Gump… that’s all I have to say about that.

To all of my fellow red lip lovers, I do hope you concur.

RED lips are…

Fabulous and a must for all women.  And please… don’t just wait for a formal affair to dazzle.  Grocery store?  Check.  Picking the kids up from school?  Check.  Running shoes and work out clothes?  Check. (Seriously… check out #redlipfit)  Any place and any event — add a POW and show off your red!

And for all who are curious.

YES… I did have red lips on as I typed this blog!

redlip2

Cheers!

-k

Directions not included…

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

16

18 October 1997.

5:00 in the evening.

I willingly…  happily… and eagerly became his wife.

That day is forever branded into memory.  To call it bliss, doesn’t even give the day its proper description.  It was simply what it should have been… absolutely perfect.

Fast forward.

16 years later.

18 October 2013.

Looks as if a celebration is in order, eh?  As Tony, Toni, Tone would croon, “It’s our Anniversary”!

In the context of this blog post, and the typed words on a computer screen, those dates sit so close together… making a span of 16 years appear extremely compressed.

Yes…  truly, time does fly!

However, with certainty, I can assure you that a 16 year span of marriage is far from compact.  Also… with ABSOLUTE confidence I know that such unions are a steady and beautiful work in progress.  Haha… and once you enter into such relationship, directions on how to make it work, are not included!

Keeping it real…

Since I have been his wife, there have been moments in which I have failed miserably.  Serious talk here… try as I might, there have been times where the connection is off.  Something (whatever that something may be) gets in the way… work, school, kids, bills, friends, family, outside interests, comparing “your marriage” to another’s… it just gets in the way.

These are the moments that you don’t talk about, eh?  Well, speaking strictly from my experience, these are the moments that definitely need and deserve breath — especially if you want your union to continue.

On another note, since I have been his wife  — and certainly more often than failing miserably — there are those moments in which I surpass the expectation.

Moments where I… WE… excel as husband and wife.   Moments where the energy and the rhythm is effortless.  Moments where I couldn’t imagine life without that connection.

Fulfilling and radiant moments that I know are our sustaining moments… and the conduit that has afforded a 16th year.

Life is good… and I am feeling the love.

I have been blessed with a man who complements my complex and outspoken being.  Haha — those close in my circle would probably insert a plethora of descriptive adjectives!  They would also say that he too has been blessed with a woman who provides the same to him.   We are a good fit… and somehow, despite the occasional challenge(s) within our union, we just keep going, and going and going…

And for that, I am incredibly thankful and fortunate.

Surely, my story isn’t unique.  Marriage is work.  And sometimes, it may take a second… or third marriage to get it right.  Right?

Who knows what the true directions are…

Perhaps the ideal directions are just a quick list of complied learnings.

Such as:

Marriage is an evolution.

Everything changes — and change is good.

EMBRACE the change.

Go with the flow.

Speak your mind.

Listen to the truth… even when the truth hurts.

Respect each other.

Love each other.

Protect each other.

Laugh together OFTEN!

Don’t take everything so seriously.

Be patient.

And, because it deserves reiteration…

LOVE EACH OTHER!

Yes sir!  The Mr. and I are in in to win it… and we are taking this thang one day at at time!

Raise your glass with me…

Cheers to my 16th year!

-k