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

Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

…in my next lifetime, I’m coming back as a chef.

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm

chef

If I were to put all of my interests on paper, then toss those papers into a bowl, I wouldn’t be surprised by the sight of overflow.

Various interests fuel my spirit.  An assorted, hodgepodge potpourri that span numerous topics… and pretty much, makes me, me.   Haha… this bowl that I speak of is not exclusive.  We all have them… and surely each one is as unique and as detailed as our own fingerprint.

What gets my head spinning and makes me dizzy is this…

How in the world does one master all of their passions in one lifetime?

Proficiency in each and EVERY one of your interests is impossible, eh? (Side note:  if you are an anomaly, and have mastered it all… please contact me post-haste so that I might learn from you)

I’m thinking that it goes down like this:

With our overflowing bowl of interests, we all just dibble dabble in some, learn a bit more about others and perhaps master a handful — sound about right?   Well, that seems to be my manner of attack…. and truth be told, the only way that I know how to devour the plethora of things I’d like to know, do, see, experience… etc.

Hey… now that I think about it, maybe we are meant to have this  excess — and the reality is that we just have to save somethings for later.

Hmmmm, like another lifetime?  Haha, I really do say “another lifetime” in jest.

BUT!

If that were the case… I’m claiming it now and I’m telling you that I am definitely coming back as a chef!

When it comes to my interests, cooking is easily one of my top five.

An interest that stemmed from childhood, has now matured with adulthood.  The only way I know how to describe this passion is that I view it as a succulent and luscious art form.  I am repeatedly stimulated cooking — a basic necessity that has inexhaustible creative interpretations.  It fascinates me!

For the record… never have I participated in any culinary classes or had professional lessons.  The skills that I do have, I would attribute them to a small collection of individuals, both in my past and present… and countless hours of searching Google and the Food Network.  These folks seasoned me and generated an enthusiasm for cooking that couldn’t be ignored.  As for the internet.  Haha — it will FOREVER be a resource and my constant instructor!

If I had to put my finger on it and declare just one person my cooking muse… by far it would be my late grandmother Mrs. Ruth Everett Brown.

7 years deceased and Bill Wither’s song Grandma’s Hands  (which, ironically is playing as I type) always brings her to mind.

My grandma.

A woman who was both complex and mysterious…

who never worked outside of the house and never held a driver’s license…

a woman who was dedicated to her family (especially grandchildren)…

a woman who could sing a Sunday hymn at the drop of a dime…

a woman who could grown a garden and nurture a house plant like nobody’s business…

a woman whose hand hands could mend, fix, soothe, ease anything…

AND a woman who could cook.  I mean COOK.  She. Could. COOK!  Damn… she could cook!

Reel it back in Kisha… reel it in.  Wow… interesting how nostalgia presents itself… didn’t mean to go off on a tangent.

At any rate, she was my first example.

She poured love and pride into all of her creations.  Sitting back to watch family and friends consume her breakfasts, dinners, desserts — especially her homemade rolls — filled her heart with immense joy.  Not to mention the aromas that circulated and the moans that were released while they ate… well that was a priceless recognition that would make my grandma — a woman of few smiles — grin from ear to ear!

Taking those lessons and combining them with what others have knowingly and unknowingly bestowed upon me… I’ve just got to feed this fire within.

There are just so many elements of cooking that excite me.

The planning/arrangement of your dish, the execution of the recipe, the scent of your food engulfing the room and the pleasure in achieving that tasty end result… all of the above do it for me.  But more so, I am incredibly attracted to the fellowship and bond that cooking affords.  It literally feeds the soul.  When you have something that is so satisfying… so delicious… it becomes a memory.  Everything about that dish… the place, the people who accompanied you, the presentation and the chef — it gets etched in your brain and onto your palate.

And you simply want more.  Right?

Preparing a dish for others and then the group communion as the dish is consumed — that creates a sensation inside that only one who too enjoys the craft would be able to comprehend.  I, like my grandma, revel in watching others eat what I have prepared.  I too find it flattering.  And just like her… it generates a smile like no other.

Humph…

You know what?

Waiting for whenever… or next lifetime… that is not an option.

I want it now.  So then why am I waiting?!  Although I am not completely sure how me becoming a better cook will unfold… what I do know for sure is that I am game… and I’m going for it.

Actually, I do know my first step…

According to several who have been in my kitchen, I need to update my utensils — especially my knives!

Got a favorite brand?  As always, I welcome any suggestions…

Cheers!

-k

…could this be perfection?!

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2013 at 7:31 am

IMG_8441Seriously…

WHAT just happened to my senses?!

Thunder!  Lightening!  BOOM!  ZAP!  KAPOW!

Haha… I think I just reverted back to my childhood days of watching Batman & Robin — conjuring images of the fist fights and the bold/colorful graphics that would follow each strike.  Truth be told… it happened just like that.  That luscious liquid contained in that dark glass bottle enraptured ALL of my senses and, as I just mentioned to a friend, I think I just might be marred from enjoying other red wines.

Damn… it was that good!

Since I am constantly on the prowl for my next wine discovery, this is how this love story plays out.

After a taxing day at work, my chosen manner for release was the idea of my feet elevated and a robust glass of wine in hand.  At my house, the cupboards were bare, so I knew that I needed to make a pit stop at my favorite wine shop.  “What to get, what to get?  Red or white?”… these thoughts swirled through my head during the drive.  Something new… or do I simply grab a tried and true variety?  From my job, the drive to the wine shop is approximately 13 miles… this internal conversation lasted the entire trip.  But, as I was backing into the parking spot, I decided to just go with the flow and let spontaneity strike.  Whatever “spoke” to me would be my pick!

After a few trips up and down the isles, the combination of a hand-made sale sign and a regal black and gold label caught my attention.  I’m just going to keep it real… the $25.00 now on sale for $11.99 sign made this budgeted “I’ve got a kid in private school and another wearing braces” chick raise an eyebrow.  Upon further inspection, seeing that the wine was from the J.LOHR vineyards — a CONSTANT tried and true for me; one that has never left me heartbroken —  it beckoned me.  And without hesitation, I picked up the bottle to read the description of this 2008 J.LOHR Tower Road Petite Sirah.

Haha… with me, words excite, especially when they are creatively and intentionally composed.  The winemakers comments on the back of that label did just that.  They bewitched me and before I knew it, I was headed to checkout with not one, but two bottles in hand.  With my taste buds alert, the short drive home could end soon enough!

All that is left to say is that my pick did not disappoint!  Could this be perfection?!

As a lover of a hearty and memorable red wine, this 2008 J.LOHR was most certainly all that AND more.  I always feel it necessary to remind readers of this blog that I am not a wine connoisseur.  Although I strive to be, my knowledge is limited — but quickly growing!  So when I find a wine that makes my picky palate sing, I always choose to share.  Other than sharing my finds, the most enjoyable element is the hunt.  Numerous sips, shared with friends and sometimes alone, have afforded me an ample list of great finds.  I always enjoy the hunt…and enthusiastically, I march on!

But back to my new love…

Here is when I call out to my fellow lovers of a plush red wine.  This one right here… will make you never love another!  Or at least make you stray from what you may have already deemed as your favorite.  Haha… if this wine were a female, the Commodores’ 1977 classic song “Brick House” would most certainly apply — “…she’s mighty mighty, just lettin’ it all hang out!

It’s deep inky red color, intensely stirring aroma and BOLD attack on your tongue provides a treat for your senses.  The boysenberries, blackberries and richness that was promised on the label was there — standing at attention just waiting for my arrival!  Sigh…

Have I got you interested… maybe even salivating?!  You know that was the sole goal, eh?!

I’d be interested in your review as well… but for now, as I recall, I carried two bottles to checkout and that second bottle is singing my name!

Cheers!

-k

en-er-gy…

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2012 at 6:57 am

A quick Google search yields this simple definition:   The strength and vitality required for sustained mental or physical activity.

Delve further, and naturally you will find an abundance of definitions, information and explanations… and all correct in their interpretation of the word “en-er-gy.”  Such an intriguing and expansive concept.  Mysterious en-er-gy.  Electric and thermal energy.  Chemical en-er-gy.

Kinetic.

Attractive.

ENERGY!

As of late (just for a reference, probably for the past 9 years), I have been consciously focused on energy.

Mainly… the chemical energy that one emits and receives when they interact with another. Truth be told… it is almost to an obsessive state.  I am going to blame it on being an artist and an Aquarius… ok, ok… let’s blame it on my expressive soul.   Bottom line, I am dependent on energy.  And clarifying just what “energy” is to me, I should say that I am dependent on stimulating, positive, passionate, and revitalizing energy.  Not anything far from the norm, eh?  Surely, we all crave this type of connection.

I know this to be true:

The daily connections that you make with others contain energy  that is often not recognized and even taken for granted.  The energy generated during these connections can feed you… or they can deplete your spirit.  Acknowledge it or not… this type of energy that is transferred from one person to another  is ever-present and surprisingly powerful.   It is a force… and whether it be good or bad, it is a force that steers you towards those that can and will reciprocate that same energy.  And that ain’t nothing but the truth!

Nope.  Nope.  Nope.

I’m not preaching… just sharing.

Sharing because I am confident that there are others who “get this” and seek this very same connection.  Sharing because sometimes (as my brother would say) “it is a beautiful thang” to be reminded that what you emit, you attract.  Sharing simply because… hey, it’s what I do!

Indulge me for a moment…

Think about the people who you keep close in your circle.  Your spouse or your partner might be exempt for this example… so think about extended family members and your friends.  Co-workers and acquaintances.  There is a varied mix, eh?

Now… of this mixture, think about the ones that you tend to gravitate towards.  Repeatedly gravitate towards.  This is probably most applicable to those that you consider friends… think about the ones that without a doubt, you seek out and you genuinely enjoy their company.

Now ask yourself this…

Why them?

Haha… I’ll tell you.  It is energy baby.  It all boils down to en-er-gy!

The connections they provide are stimulating… right?  When you give them your energy, they respond by fueling you and giving that energy right back to you.  A continuous flow.  There is a spark… a magnetism… (as we say this together) there is en-er-gy!  And to repeat myself… that ain’t nothing but the truth!

This is the point at which my husband would tilt his head to the side and offer a chuckle… although he is not on a soapbox like I am, he understands.

Seriously… I pour that word on him like it is a fine wine.  The word “en-er-gy” has become embedded in my vocabulary and I am constantly using it to describe my daily activities… especially my social endeavors.  Haha… as funny as this may sound, for me, en-er-gy  is as essential to me as the air I breathe.

Naaaah, he and I will probably never share the same devotion for the concept of energy.  But we do both recognize its presence and from the sideline, he does appreciate (maybe even admire) my overzealous approach.

That circle I spoke of earlier… your go-to  peeps, you really wouldn’t hold them in that regard if there wasn’t that connection.  Where I find sippin’ on a succulent wine with friends while listening to come fantastic music incredibly enjoyable, a connection via energy with that group is a nonnegotiable — a must!  It just is what it is… and for me, what it will always be!

I know that you are there as well.  Perhaps you aren’t as vocal with your observations as I am…maybe never even analyzed it to this degree, but there.  As adults, we sometimes have the mind-set of “life is short” and we spend our days/time accordingly.  So then I say… having a preference as to who you gravitate towards and an awareness as to where you deposit your energy is the perfect means of ensuring that your time is well spent.

Relocating to the Washington DC area temporarily upset my circle, leaving me with my favorite go-to family members and my best girlfriends dispersed around the globe.  As I keep in contact with them, I am slowly but surely finding my energy in new and unexpected places.

But that’s my take…

What about you?

I’m only putting this out there because I am curious as to how others grasp this concept…. surely not to be swayed, just enlightened.

Those energy connections are paramount.  Haha… and no pun intended… they are electrical and I am drawn to them!

Cheers!

-k

…and with this, my fashion feet stay firmly planted!

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2012 at 10:13 am

Funny how such simple thoughts can easily transition into something so significant.

You know… thoughts that to others my appear trivial.  Frivolous thoughts that we often apply to our lives subconsciously and somehow they evolve into these self-imposed rules… rules that we abide by with resolute dedication.

Haha… things like which direction to place the toilet paper on the holder (ahem… flap OVER in my house), what color dishes you purchase (only white for me for I love the way the clean canvas shows off the food) or what sock/shoe goes on first (left for me… always left).

I tend to do this MORE than I care to mention.  My friends would probably blame it on slight obsessive compulsive tendencies… but I’m going to chalk it up to me… just being me!  If I had to apply a ratio, I would say that for the most part these self-imposed rules air on a quirky side and truly are only beneficial to me.  However, there are moments that merit an “ah-ha”… and these are the moments in which I feel compelled to share.

In writing my last blog, I stumbled upon yet another “note” written on Sunday, 15 March 2009.

Titled “Random thoughts regarding fashion…” I posted it on my facebook page, unsure of how it would be received.  Surprisingly, those self-imposed rules generated a healthy response. Hmmmmmm… perhaps I was onto something and had I listened to the advice of others, kishafwd.com could have been established much sooner, eh?!

Not a surprise when I say that in revisiting that post, it all still rings true today.  Actually… and I say this emphatically, I would say that when it comes to those fashion rules, I am steadfast.  Unwavering.  Haha… completely committed!

Soooooo, since I shared before, I eagerly share again.  The camaraderie of womanhood is and has always been the muse.

3 years later, here it goes again… but, since I do have those “mild” obsessive compulsive tendencies, I have added just a few thoughts (possibly slight interruptions in the original flow of the post)… all noted by the italics.

—————–

Random thoughts regarding fashion…

For whatever reason, I have this overwhelming desire to write (as if I were this “in demand” stylist) a “real woman’s/on a budget, but I want to look fabulous” guide to fashion. Chuckle, if you must, but after reading, I do believe, that even the most hard to win critic, will walk away with a tip… or two.

I know, I know, you have read them in all of the magazines…

The essentials we all must own, the top 5, 10, 15, 25, gazillion things that everyone must wear… and most of us (me included) are somewhat addicted to the television shows, that steer the lost into the light… cough, cough “What Not To Wear” cough, cough…(for the record, I adore Stacy London and Clinton Kelly and would embrace an opportunity to chat with them both).  So check this out, I DID meet Stacy London, 15 April 2012 and she is just as energetic and spirited as I had imagined!
Nonetheless, we read, we watch, we try and wonder… whose advice do we follow, who is right?
All of them? None of them? Some of them?

The answer: they all have something to offer. And it is just that simple.

So ladies, if it were to have a title, let’s just call it “After a bit of trial and error, Kisha recommends…”

· First and foremost, be honest with yourself, without guilt or shame and learn your body type.  Embrace your assets and STOP worrying about what you don’t have.  Apple, pear, hour glass shapes… narrow hips, full hips, long torso, short torso, fuller breast and smaller breast… we learned in our middle school health classes that we were built differently.  So, discover what do you have.  Study your nude body in the mirror, jot down a few notes and let that be your roadmap when investing in your wardrobe. The result… all future purchases will only accentuate the positive!

· Once you figure out what is going to work for you, the next objective is to find who sells it!  You probably already know this, but it is worth repeating… every store is not going to work for your body type.  AND, there are probably stores that will work best for you when you are looking to purchase bottoms and others, which you will go to when needing tops.  This you will only discover by trying on, trying on and more trying on… perhaps a bit tedious in the beginning… but the payoff, once you discover “who” is for you… priceless!  All I will add is this:  Ladies, as we age… we must be willing to let go of some of the stores that no longer cater to our MAGNIFICENT age and body types.  There is a sophistication and incredible beauty in becoming older.  Our wardrobes should reflect that attitude.

· Invest a bit of extra money, in pieces of clothing that work for you and are a necessity for your lifestyle. We all have our favorite “inexpensive” store that we frequent for that one piece, for that one event… but, we do so knowing, that after a few washes, that item has a short lifespan in our closet. But, for those key items that we need for work, or home, or all of the after work cocktail parties – spend a bit more, invest in garments made with higher quality fabrics, launder them properly and you will quickly see your hard earned dollars go further.

· Own jeans that flatter your shape.  Can I say that again… own jeans that flatter your shape.  Yes, this can be grueling (no joke)… Make a decision as to how much you are willing to invest, do a bit of online research and take a friend (who will be honest) with you when you trying on the various styles.  Be patient and you too will have your “ah ha” moment.  And, if you already have that brand loyalty, and they work for you… stick to it and invest in several pairs.  A nice slim fitting jean in a dark (mildly distressed) wash takes me there!!!! YOWZA!

· With that said, and for those that know me, you will understand this next statement…
Once you find an item that works for you, purchase it in ALL of the colors that flatter your complexion.  And, before you think it… no, this will not lead to a boring wardrobe.  You have found the perfect fit of black pants… well; do they come in chocolate or charcoal? You found the ideal wrap sweater (my personal “I can’t live without”…gosh, truth be told, the list continues to grow and occasionally gets tweaked.  But I would have to add that adding pops of animal print is a beautiful thang!) get ALL of the colors that suit you… not your friends, not the photo in the magazine, but you… only you.  The fun comes in how you mix and match… reinvent the wheel, the “color wheel” that is! If you don’t own one, visit your local art store and for a few bucks, you are on your way to creating magnificent color schemes within your wardrobe.

· Last, but certainly not least… do not forget the accessories!
This is the ooooohh, laaa laaaaaahhh to defining your signature style.  How many ways can you reinterpret denim and a white tank… countless, because it is all about the accessories!  And, just to be clear, I am speaking about the shoes, the bag, the coat, the scarf, the jewelry, the shoes, the blazer, the tote, the earrings, the bracelet… do it right, and this will keep your secret “fashion” admirers wanting more, more and more.  The lovely part about accessories is that they come in a variety of price points… and often times, if implemented correctly in your wardrobe, the least expensive of accessories, look like a million bucks!  What a segue (and a shameless plug)… specking of accessories, I just celebrated  my one year anniversay as a stella & dot stylist.  Check me out at:  www.stelladot.com/kbr and www.facebook.com/kbrstylist   Not that I am pushing my favorites on anyone (which is why I haven’t mention any of my favorite stores… fashion is truly subjective and, truth be told, my favorites may not work for you body type) but… blazers are a nonnegotiable. They come in a variety of cuts and work for practically everyone!  As you build you accessory wardrobe, concentrate on what you determine are your staples… then from there, the sky is the limit!  Seriously… a structured blazer is a fashion lifesaver.  EVERY WOMAN should own at least a classic black blazer!

Not to be interpreted as a sermon… just me, spreading some love to my fellow girls.
It is important that we all feel simply amazing in our unique skin.  So, if my random thoughts gave you any insight… then I am humbled.  Perhaps, as you are shopping, you will chuckle and think of me as you are looking at yourself in the mirror, trying on one of your “new” favorites!

And there it is.

And, for the record:  Yes… to these rules I am forever loyal!

Cheers!

-k

A note to my 42 year old self…

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm

What do you do with your notes to self?

You know, those personal collections of thoughts, repeated mantras and declarations that you remember or recite.  Notes to self that often are generated via a life lesson…  acting as an aid in maintaining our confidence, elevating our spirits, keeping us sane and/or reminding us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

For me, the notes are nothing more than the randomness that constantly swirls throughout my head.  Poignant and witty bits of wisdom that present themselves daily and (THANK GOODNESS) as I age, become vividly crystal clear.

As a wife and a mother of a teenage son and a pre-teen daughter it is important and necessary that I have presence.  Even more so for my daughter, me being of sound mind, strong body and calm spirit plays a key factor in our relationships.

BUT, first and foremost, I am a woman.

An independent woman, a woman who works full-time outside of the household, a woman who has an artsy side and enjoys being social, a woman who takes pride in her appearance… and, as important and significant those roles are, I am a woman who is conscious about and determined to be defined as more than a wife and mother.  So, as a woman, I am adamant that presence starts with me!  And for BOTH of my children, I would encourage them to do the same.

Haha… not to get all “Oprah’ish” on you, but the reality is that my notes to self steer that path.  They keep me energized, balanced, allow me to reflect and in times when I lose focus, they do what Hansel and Gretel attempted to do with bread crumbs… they help me find my way home.

I bet there are an abundance of women (perhaps men too) who identify with me and my note to self.  We all do this… we jot down or think thoughts that will rejuvenate us and propel us forward… helps us to “get our minds right!”  It’s human nature, eh?

Wondering if I am alone… but my notes repeat themselves.  Like fashion trends, they are cyclical; coming in and out of season over time and when appropriate.  A few years into my fourth decade, I can easily spot and appreciate those patterns.  Haha… I keep a stash of notes and draw upon them frequently.

My favorite note to self, I keep as the sole information offered in my “about you” section on my facebook page:

“What I know to be true… Change is constant, inevitable and beautiful.  You should accept your imperfections.  Time heals all wounds… AND, this too shall pass!”

So elementary but specific to us all, eh?  Incredibly apropos for “life” and the myriad of situations and events one will encounter.

I recently stumbled across a random note to self that I quickly scribed in a matter of 10 minutes.  Written approximately 3 years ago, in reading it again I was compelled to share — actually with the hopes that in the future, my children might read and appreciate their mother’s candid thoughts.  At the time, I was given an assignment to write down 25 random thoughts.  These were my thoughts — and to this day, they continue to be relevant.

1. I absolutely love the color green.
2. Despite my imperfections, I think I am beautiful… and I wish more women embraced themselves in this manner.
3. My children are my heart… they are little apples off of the tree and I am often humored as to how they have adopted so many of their parent’s characteristics.
4. I love my husband’s shoulders.
5. I am so proud that my siblings and I have a wonderful and loving relationship.
6. I feel sorry for those that do not know the joy of having a great friend.
7. I love MAC eye shadows.
8. I should read more…
9. I enjoy the smell of coffee, yet I don’t really drink it (Haha..an update:  a busy work schedule and a need for caffeine, as of 2012, I occasionally drink coffee).
10. One day, I would like to go to Africa.
11. Music invigorates me.
12. I am an artist… in a perfect world, I would immerse myself into an art project… and everyday, create something magnificent with my hands.
13. I miss my grandmother.
14. I love my daughter’s hands… from an early age, they have always appeared wise and mature.
15. My son’s introspectiveness amazes me.
16. A great glass of wine and good company is a wonderful treat.
17. I love accessories… a fabulous pair of shoes, a snazzy handbag, the perfect coat….mmmmmmmm, it takes me there! 😉
18. I am always on the prowl for the perfect shade of red… both lips and hair!
19. I love to cook… and KNOW I should do it more often.
20. My children have a great dad.
21. Sometimes, I yell too much!
22. I enjoy decorating my house, your house… any house.
23. One day, I will own a dog… although, Ziggy, the cat, isn’t bad (as of 2012, we now have Izzy the cat).
24. I love listening to and watching my loved ones laugh.
25. I AM BLESSED!!!!

Haha… pretty much, that is me in a nutshell… do you feel as if you know me better?

Well, I definitely intend on frequenting this list often… and of course, continuing to write new notes.  But I do feel inclined to add a #26…and it reads as such:  I am happy!

Cheers!

-k

Summarized by one word – UNFORGETTABLE!

In Uncategorized on February 7, 2012 at 5:13 am


Up until now, the images in the movies or magazine articles was my closest experience.

Living vicariously and enamored by the thought, I relished the idea.  I would have to say that getting lost in the moment was easy… especially when the images I saw depicted a comradery of women.  Women who appeared to be strong, radiant and completely immersed in the experience.  It just seemed like a good time and such a fantastic way to be pampered.  Fine dining brought to you by way of a personal chef… haha – who wouldn’t want their moment?

Well… through the courtesy of 2 dear friends and the talent of 2 rising chefs, I had my moment.  Topped of by the setting, a spacious Parisian apartment and the theme, a birthday dinner… I can sum it up in one word — UNFORGETTABLE!

There some moments in life in which words merely aren’t enough.  Indescribable moments that often are best communicated via photography.  As I sit to type this blog, the reality is… my 6 course dinner was just that.

Haha – an opportunity to live vicariously through me, eh?

As we took our seats at the table, the initial smells that engulfed the room were a sensory overload.  With that as a prelude, I knew that I was in for a ride.

And no doubt there was wine… ahhhhhhh – especially the wine!  Hey, it wouldn’t be complete without a toast to begin the meal!  From there, our chefs teased us with their presentation, served us with poise and absolutely amazed us with their craft.  Even with my friend as an interpreter to field the language barrier, I could surmise from their body language that they were in a zone!

Bon Appétit, eh?  Humph – that is an understatement!  We feasted until we couldn’t move… and then we ate some more!  Each bite, utterly a taste bud orgasm!  Haha – at times, I literally had to silence myself — trying to take it all in… trying to embrace, be in… better yet, remember the moment.  I was feeling it!  Seriously… what more could a girl ask for!

And after dessert… there was more!  The perfect ending to the meal, a birthday serenade in both English and Portuguese.

Yessssssssss…

My moment.

Now immortalized via blog, will forever be cherished and remembered as one of the best experiences in my life.

With that, all that is left to say is…

Happy Birthday….  to me!

Cheers!

-k

7 is my number.

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm

At what age does someone claim something to be their favorite?

Presumably early in life, eh?  As children, we make numerous declarations of what we like and want.  Our experiences establish a rhythm and pattern of “things” that afford pleasing sensations and then – POOF – it becomes a favorite.  Hmmm… I can’t even recall the age when I declared my two favorite things.   Nonetheless, for as long as I can remember, my two constant and only two favorite things have been as such:  the color green and the number  7.  I am innately drawn to them – and with favorite things, that is truly all that matters!

The color green… it all started as my favorite crayon.  Now, it  is incorporated into my wardrobe, sprinkled throughout my home decor and always the color I select for my toothbrush.  This color is characterized as soothing.  It is considered to be harmonious, mentally relaxing and refreshing.  Haha – silly me gets an adrenaline rush at the sight – especially when presented with a plate adorned with vibrant green salads and veggies!  My added bonus?  The color surrounds me in nature.  This daily intake of the color green is a visual treat and it adds a lil’ pep in my step!

The number 7.  My number 7.  Being the date of my birth, I’m thinking that the attraction was inevitable.  Upon learning to write, it was always my favorite number to scribble.  Svelte and sleek in shape, the number emits power.  Haha – I have a tendency to vacillate between the implied meaning and significance of the number 7.  A  host of mathematicians and theologians have made their claims, but my number 7 is just simplified.  It just is what it is.  It has a mysterious rhythm and I subconsciously look for its presence in my daily grind.  I find it comforting, lucky – and sometimes a sign of fate.

Fate it would be.  For…

7 months ago.

In the 7th month of the year.

On a whirlwind trip.

I discovered a new favorite… and became moon struck by Paris.

A whirlwind trip is an understatement.  53 hours to be exact.  Me, one of my best girlfriends, her daughter, my daughter and a quaint 30 room hotel.  Each of us, virgins to the city…  unfamiliar with the culture and the language but eager to soak it ALL in.  Countless priceless memories – especially my daughter, the aspiring fashion designer, laying her eyes on the Eiffel Tower for the first time – with me by her side.  I knew at first sight – the city and I were kindred spirits.  You pick the rendition – Roberta Flack or the Fugees – but the city… it was “Killing Me Softly.”  Then and there, my girlfriend and I made a vow — we would return.

And today is the day!

This time, lodging in a spacious three-bedroom apartment with an African inspired motif and oversized windows… and sharing the experience – including myself – with 7 women.  7 women, each charismatic and uniquely beautiful, coming from near and far to inhale the enchanted city and celebrate life — and to simply be “in the moment.”

Yep… I said it – celebrate life!

What an awesome concept, eh?!

Blame it on a clear understanding of the ever-present notion that LIFE IS SHORT.  With that, I say why not?  Why not grasp… clutch tightly… better yet create and take your moments?  I know I am.  Where there is a will… of course we know the rest – so – I made my way!  Even picked up a fun side gig to generate some play money – shameless plug inserted here:  www.stelladot.com/kbr  www.facebook.com/kbrstylist.  Happy to say that the stars have aligned – cuz baby, with passport in hand and suitcase packed – I am off on a sweet journey.  The sweetest element?  In the midst of it all, while I immerse myself in my new favorite city… my favorite 7 will occur – another birthday.

Sigh… 7 is my number…

and that is about all a girl cay say.

Oh!  Did I mention that the wool coat accompanying me on my trip is a jaw-dropping shade of green?!

Haha — wouldn’t have it any other way!

Cheers!

-k

365 days ago…

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2012 at 12:02 am

A day that I vaguely remember.

In concept, I can imagine that it was a day of reflection… a day of assessment… a day to just put everything into perspective.  A day most likely spent celebrating with family and friends… receiving and extending wishes of happiness for the new year.   In some areas of my life, perhaps I was contemplating the notion of a fresh start… in other areas, surely there was rejoicing and gratitude  for the little things.  No lofty  resolutions.  Just a day… and the start of yet another new year.

So today, this first twenty-four hours of a brand new 365 days, I can’t help reflect on my last phone conversation with my brothers.  Last week, a hurried conversation while I was at work… one brother calling, conferencing the other brother in, simply to talk and share – hmmmm, enlighten is probably a better suited word.

Rushed.

That was my demeanor and definitely my tone.  Poorly attempting to multitask – working on the computer, cell phone on one ear listening to them while the work phone is on the other trying to resolve a designer dilemma.  It was obvious.  I was half-heartedly answering their questions… but in truth, I registered every word.  They were merely calling to include me in on one of their “typical”  meaty conversations.  Conversations in which they self -evaluate, chronicle daily life lessons and extract the positive from those learnings to improve their lives.

Minus the details, I will say that I do enjoy these conversations with my brothers.  They are both witty, engaging and intelligent.  Although alike, they each possess very unique personalities, careers and perspectives.   These conversations with them carry a comforting rhythm… and with the distance that separates us, I look forward to the connection.  Generally, these talks always take different directions.  This time the topic of discussion was so elementary, yet incredibly compelling…

One very basic premise.

3 little words.

“Try something new.”

Haha – I’ll give you a moment to let that marinate.

Try something new, eh?  Advice that has been offered since one can remember.  Try something new.  The ultimate intent of all marketing strategies.  Try something new.  Duh… the best way to figure out if you like something.  Try something new.  Without a doubt, the absolute best way to keep your senses keen, your mind sharp and in a constant state of learning.

Common sense, I know.  But somethings… some great things are just worth repeating.  Well then, no better time than a new year to provide a lil’ reiteration!

As we all begin our fresh journey – this 2012 dance that takes 365 steps to complete – I will definitely be incorporating doses of “try something new” into my daily routine.  For me, the newness awaits in so many forms; fashion, wine, design, food, books, art, travel, family outings and social events, even a state of mind… I am just going to try.  Yep, this girl has an appetite.  My objective  – haha – to keep my noggin free of cobwebs!  Naaaaah.  The truth –  experience more of this world and to simply be an example and hopefully an inspiration for my children.

Wondering how you too could start… or even find your impetus?

Of course I constantly revert back to my google searches — this could be an excellent start to get your try something new juices flowing.  Perhaps even doing like the experts advise.  If you have a goal, one of the best ways to ensure success is to write it down.  Gotta love a blog, eh?!

Excited and content with my approach, I am looking forward to great things.

Wishing the Happiest Happy New Year to you all… especially my try something new comrades!

I’m thinking that a quote by Maya Angelou is oooh so fitting for our adventure…

“Ain’t nothin’ to it, but to do it.”

Cheers!

-k