Weekly Inspiration l 1-9-15

Weekly Inspiration

I love this soft color palette.  Who says peach has to be springy. I love it coupled with the cool black & white and gray tones. It’s very peaceful. Life is just peachy!

Zsa Zsa Bellagio l Nest Pretty Things l Style Me Pretty l Far Fetch l Daily Makeover l Darling Clementine l She Knows l Hear Hear l Shabby Story l Paper BlogSignature

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StyleLove : Janelle

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One of my favorite things  about my life is the fact that I get to live it with amazing people.  I am blessed with incredible friends who each uniquely define what it means to have style! StyleLove is my way of highlighting their signature style and showcasing that beauty and style come in a million different flavors and forms.

Meet Janelle

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 She’s flirty, fun & free

(& kind & loving & beautiful & about a million other things)

LAH – How would you describe your style?
Janelle – I’ve spent a bizarre amount of time thinking about this question. I’ve got it boiled down to “romantic industrial retro gypsy.” Essentially that means that I have an equal weakness for flowy, feminine pieces which allow me to feel like a girl, and also a tougher, minimalist, aesthetic featuring an unhealthy amount of studs, zippers, and buckles. Throw in a bunch of clunky jewelry picked up from street stalls around the world and enough vintage day dresses to make a 1950s housewife proud, and you’ve got my style.
LAH – What/Who do you think has been the greatest influence on your style?
Janelle – Without question my biggest style influence is my mother. She modeled how to dress with ease and confidence, how to navigate Good Will bins and street markets and always walked away with steals, and taught me that you should always look for a deal, but be willing to splurge on yourself every once in awhile. She has an unflappable, unique style that’s all hers, and she taught me how to find mine for myself. She even managed to survive the 80s looking classy. If that isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is. The other two big influences on my style were definitely the years I spent in New York going to art school, and the years since then I’ve spent traveling as a grungy backpacker. I showed up in Brooklyn as a wide-eyed 18 year old way before the word ‘hipster’ was a thing, and got to a front row seat to a constant parade of people trying out their own style in often bizarre and usually inspiring ways. I got a lot braver, and also a lot more clear about what did and didn’t work for me, and for my body type. Then I left New York, and had to unlearn a lot of things. 🙂 When I started spending most of my year living out a backpack, I discovered just how many clothes I owned, and what I actually needed to still feel like I was dressing like myself, no matter where I was. I also discovered an enduring love for giant jewelry pieces I could pick up along the way. I love how much little things you bring home carry the memory of the place you found them.

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LAH – What’s one of your favorite things about yourself and why?
Janelle – My favorite thing about myself is that I am a shape-shifter. I can jump in between really disparate worlds and social spheres, find some point of connection there, and be a bridge between people who might not think they have much in common. I feel equally at home at an art studio or a crunchy hostel or a government office, and I like that about me.
LAH – What would you say is your life mission statement?
Janelle – One of the things I’m definitely most passionate about is being a sounding board for people to push out their thinking on who they are, how they’re wired, and what they’re dreams really are. I think there’s a lot of power in taking the time to think through and begin to articulate who you are and what you’re passionate about. It always feels a bit awkward to name those things out loud, but it’s amazing how much those declarations change the way you think about yourself on a daily basis. For myself, I think I’ve got it boiled down to something in the vein of “I am a congruent creator who encourages expanding capacity, a serendipitous connector who fosters new relationships, and a proactive explorer who deliberately creates space for new adventures.”  
Something like that… it’s a work in progress. 🙂
LAH – How many countries have you traveled to?
Janelle – 49 and counting.
LAH – What is the most random experience that you’ve ever had?
Janelle – Oh goodness. Yikes. Anyone who knows me would have no trouble believing that I just got very overwhelmed by the word ‘most’ there. It might have been the time I spent two weeks in an Italian monastery learning how to harvest black currants and working the line at a jam factory. That one was pretty odd.

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LAH – Have you ever experienced feelings of insecurity about yourself? How have you overcome them?
Janelle – Every single day. 

When I was a kid and feeling overwhelmed with how stupid whatever I’d just said must have sounded or how awkward I was around the boy I liked, my mother used to tell me, over and over again, “Janelle, nobody thinks about you as much as you do.” It used to drive me absolutely batty, but now there’s nothing more comforting. I recite it to myself whenever I can feel myself acting insecure and embarrassed in a situation. It’s shockingly liberating to realize that you might spend an hour picking out an outfit for dinner, but the odds are that the people you’re with won’t actually remember what you wore next week. That offers a LOT of freedom to give yourself some grace. Nobody is watching as closely as you think they are. 

LAH – If you could give other women one bit of advice, what would it be?
Janelle – I’m going to cheat here and give the three best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given instead.
1) Give yourself grace to be where you are. 

As a very high F on the Myers-Briggs scale, I am more often than not a walking time bomb of emotions. Giving myself permission to feel what I’m feeling in that moment and acknowledge an emotion as valid instead of trying to stuff it down and just be stronger is probably the single most useful thing I’ve learned to date.

2) Get the help you need.

I think as women it’s really difficult to admit that we need help, or that we’re not able to just handle something on our own. A mentor once told me that the biggest marker of maturity is someone who recognizes the help that they need in an area, and then proactively seeks it out. 

3) Take the steps you know to take.

My brain is usually going at warp speed thinking of new ideas, business ventures, zany art pieces which may never see the light of day… I used to find myself being constantly overwhelmed by all of the huge things I wanted to accomplish, and how little actually I seemed to be getting done. My very wise father helped me see that the way to break down a huge dream is to look for the next baby step which could move you tangibly forward. All you’re responsible for is to take the next step you can take. That’s it. 

Isn’t she just amazing? She exudes joy and wonder.  Her very existence challenges you to dream beyond what you’d previously thought.  She’s a constant invitation to fun and freedom.  I’ve been blessed time and again by her hugs, her heart and her wisdom.   Her beauty is enthralling and I’m so grateful I get to call her my friend.  My world is so much larger and more fun with her in it!

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p.s. All photos are taken with my iPhone 5.

Spring Cleaning!

Despite what it might feel like today, Spring is most definitely on its way.  With it comes sunshine, bright blue skies, birds chirping and an inexplicable urge to clean house.  My wonderful friend Ella came over this past weekend and helped me with the completely overwhelming task of cleaning out my closet.IMG_6560After wrapping up my “No Shopping Challenge” last month, I realized that even without shopping for 6 months, I still had too many clothes.  There is no reason I still need things in my closet from college. (Yikes!)

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Ella asked me three questions as I was cleaning out my closet this weekend.  Each helped me get rid of things I had been holding onto for far too long (3 huge bags worth actually).

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1. Does it fit?  Let’s be honest, how often do we hold onto things that sort of fit but we never actually pull it out of the closet because you don’t feel that comfortable or confident in it.  Craziness!

2. Do you love it?  This seems like a kind of crazy question to ask.  Please know I don’t really love clothes the way I love my friends or any number of important things BUT that’s not an excuse to surround yourself with things that don’t make  you feel good about yourself.  You’re worth the few extra minutes of effort it takes to pull out something that makes you feel like you and gives you the extra boost of confidence to face your day. Don’t settle!

3. Is it your style? I took the opportunity while I wasn’t shopping to re-think what I wanted my personal style to be.  In the past I would buy things because I wanted to shop or because it fit or because it was in style, but not necessarily because it was my style.   It was actually kind of a crazy concept to me.  Having a personal style.  It felt like such a luxury and very grown up.  Neither of which I particularly felt.  One thing I realized however through this process is that I can have a personal style. I don’t have to wear things I don’t love. I don’t have to spend oodles of money to have a personal style either.  Defining my style will actually help me regulate myself when the urge to go shopping strikes again.  On top of that, defining how I want to present myself actually helps me clean house. Crazy how this applies in other areas of life too!

I love what Ella had to say about defining your personal style, “I often think about style as a sentence, ideally 3 words. If you look at my pinterest boards you’ll see some examples. Sometimes it’s “French-inspired Ease” or even a phrase like “Edge-Girl Next Door”. If you can find that based on what you like, every item in your closet should ultimately fit with that phrase or words. I’d love for you to be able to fall into your closet and anything you hit you’d love and would fit your style. I’d love that for every woman!

You’d never believe that I pulled out more than 3 huge bags of clothes out of my closet to donate.  I actually feel like I have more options now than I did before and it’s because I can now see what I have.  It felt like Christmas morning as I discovered fun things I had forgotten were stuffed at the back of my closet.

I would highly recommend you make the most of this Spring-y weather and tackle your closet!

Out with the old and in with the new!

It’s such a good feeling.  Who knows what you might find!

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Lupita Love

Can we just take a moment and talk about how much I adore Lupita Nyong’o?

lupita your dreams are valid

She is radiant and absolutely beautiful.

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She has graciously taken the world by storm, first with her absolutely breathtaking role in 12 Years A Slave (and oscar award winning… get it girl!) and now in just about every media outlet possible.

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She not only sparkles with each smile, but when she opens her mouth the words are pure grace.  I have to share this video with you.  Her take on beauty is captivating and every little girl should hear it.  Please watch.

“What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion.”

Ahhh…Don’t you just love her?!?!

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Giveaway: Hot Rollers

GiveawayI’m so excited to hold my first ever giveaway on the blog today!  Yesterday’s hair tutorial with Ashlynn was so fun that I thought I’d give you the opportunity to try it at home yourself.

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That’s why I’m giving away a set of Remington Style : Ceramic Compact Hot Rollers.  They are the same kind that Ashlynn and I use and I thought it would be fun to share them with you.
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All you have to do to enter is comment below and tell me about your best/worst hair story.  Mine undoubtedly had something to do with spongy curlers and Saturday night as a kid.

The contest will close next Tuesday, January 28th at 5pm (EST).  A winner will be randomly selected and announced the following Wednesday.

It should be noted the lovely people behind these spectacular hot rollers do not know know me or about this giveaway.  I’m sure we’d be besties if we met, but this is not a sponsored post.

Good Luck!

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Photos provided courtesy of Lauren Modny Photography

Girl Talk: The Girl with the Curl

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Having girlfriends is the best.thing.ever.  Someone with whom you can swap stories, giggle and share life’s wonderful moments. There’s so much wisdom that I have gained from the amazing women in my life; whether about the best product to get rid of dreaded frizz or advice on how to live my life with passion.  My life is better because of the girlfriends in it.  That’s why I started “Girl Talk“.

This is my beautiful friend, Ashlynn.  You probably know her from here, here and here (ok so maybe she’s something of a celebrity around here)

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She has amazing hair.  I mean, clearly.  I asked her to share how she gets her drool-worthy curls on today’s “Girl Talk”.  Take it away Ashlynn!

Step 1. Start with blown dry hair.

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**hint** “second day” hair is best as the curl will hold better when your hair has more of its natural oil.

Step 2. Plug in your hot rollers and allow to set for at least 15 minutes for long or thick hair, 5-10 minutes should be sufficient for short or thin hair.

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**hint** I use Remington Style – Ceramic Compact Hot Rollers

Step 3. Start at the crown of your head and wrap 1-2 inch sections of hair around each hot roller and secure with the pins provided.

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**hint** i dab a little bit of gel (light hold) onto the sections of hair right before i roll them, you could use a light spray of hairspray as well.

Step 4. Repeat the curling process until you have wrapped all of your hair in hot rollers.

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Step 5. Leave in for at least 30 minutes.

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**hint** you can use this time to do your makeup or finish getting ready or pretend you’re a fabulous movie star.

Step 6. Starting at the base of your neck and working upwards, unwrap each roller in a spiral motion.

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Step 7. Shake out your curls and run your fingers through them to separate.
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Step 8. Spray with hairspray to finish and you’re done!
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How fun! Thanks Ashlynn! Can’t wait to try it myself.

Stay tuned, tomorrow we have a special treat so you can try this yourself at home!

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Photos provided courtesy of Lauren Modny Photography

Bittersweet Benefit

I’ve had the privilege of working with the wonderful people at the Bittersweet Zine over the past year or so.  They highlight local issues and local efforts through a variety of creative means.  I find their mission to use their skills/talents/experience to support meaningful work and initiatives completely inspiring.

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to help style the Bittersweet Benefit launching their Good Gift Guide.  It was such a fun event and I was thrilled to get to work with some truly creative geniuses including the amazing ladies behind LeRoy French and Either/Or Design.

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and here’s a few fun shots from the setup.

Thank you so much to Bittersweet for letting me be involved! It truly is such a privilege to work with such an amazing group of people focused on using what is in their hands to change the world.

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Photos provided courtesy of Erica Baker Photography.

Styling Your Holiday Party

I love making things pretty. I like fluffing pillows.  Arranging the pictures just so.  Having fresh flowers on every available surface.  I remember when I first moved in with one of my friends, I would re-arrange the living room and all it’s contents on, at least, a monthly basis.

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For a long time I didn’t affix any value to this skill.  In fact, calling it a skill seemed laughable (still kind of does…actually).  That being said, it has only been recently that I’ve realized this isn’t something that everyone loves to do and I am, in fact, pretty good at it.  It is valuable because it brings joy, not just to me, but to the people that encounter it ,whether it be a styled party or warm, inviting room.

I truly believe that a beautiful space can communicate value to the person who enters.

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That’s my goal any time I style a space, event or person.

I want to communicate value.

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That being said, after our recent #yousparkle photoshoot, my friend Ella encouraged me to share some of my thoughts on how I go about styling a space/party.

So here you have them in no apparent order (and I’m pretty sure I’ll think of more later)

1. Work with what you have –   I don’t believe you have to buy a lot of new things each time you decide to host a party.  Look at what is already in your house and try to envision it with new eyes.  Don’t be afraid to give something a new purpose.  Pull a few color coordinated books off the shelf and create a fun vignette on your mantle or coffee table.  Raid your fridge for brightly colored fruit to add color to the center of your table.  Once you start thinking this way the options are endless.

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2. Start early – Give yourself the time you need to be creative.  Don’t expect inspiration to strike the second you walk into a space.  Creativity can take time. Don’t rush it.  This one is probably the biggest challenge for me.

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3. Don’t fall for it – Just because something is branded as “Christmas” (or Valentine’s Day or Wedding or…) doesn’t mean you have to buy it.  Stores are smart and they count on you being a little bit lazy.  You have a wedding shower to plan for, they put the little white napkins with white doves at the front of the shelf and mark it up five times.  Don’t do it. Put down the napkins and step away from the holiday display.

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4. Play – Styling a party or space isn’t an exact science.  If you approach it as something you “have” to do you’re most likely not going to feel that creative.  If you can remove some of the “have to” and realize that there’s no “wrong way” to it then I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself so much more.  You never know the great ideas you’ll have!  Have fun!

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Still not convinced and want help “styling” your next event?  Contact me at Piccadilly. Let’s play!

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Girl Talk : Makeup Brushes & Cleaning Up Your Act

girl talk
Having girlfriends is the best.thing.ever.  Someone with whom you can swap stories, giggle and share life’s wonderful moments. There’s so much wisdom that I have gained from the amazing women in my life; whether about the best product to get rid of dreaded frizz or advice on how to live my life with passion.  My life is better because of the girlfriends in it.  That’s why I started “Girl Talk“.
This is my beautiful friend Yanneisha (aka Yanny)!
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You might remember her from when she guest posted here a few months ago.  She’s an incredibly talented makeup artist and I thought it would be fun to get her back on here to talk more about all things makeup!  She’s so much fun and agreed to let me ask her questions to my heart’s content. YAY!
LAH – What are some of your favorite tips to tell people who want to improve their technique in applying their makeup? 
Yanny – The most important thing in makeup application is a clean face. That may sound like the obvious, but being in my line of work, you wouldn’t believe the stories I hear from people who don’t have a good cleansing regimen! It’s super important to cleanse, tone and moisturizer your face daily. A great moisturizer will allow your makeup to go on smoothly and flawlessly. Be sure that it is not oily/greasy. Another tip is to use the right makeup brush in the right area. I don’t like big powder brushes. I think they are messy and you waste a lot of product. Your makeup brush should fit the area on your face you are using it and not overtake it. So don’t use a powder brush to apply eyeshadow.
 
LAH – What’s the difference between applying your makeup with other types of tools (sponge, q-tip, fingers) and a brush? 
Yanny – The biggest difference with the type of tool you choose to use is preference. Sponges tend to do what sponges do, which is why they are my least favorite. Sponges soak up product! You will waste more product than you realize if you solely use a sponge to apply. Sponges are great for touch ups and finishing your final look. Q-tips…I assume people use them for eyeshadow, certainly not foundation. I think of q-tips like I think of sponges, wasting product. You’ll get better application using a brush to apply eyeshadow. You’ll be able to blend so there are no demarcations. I use q-tips for under eye cleanup or any small messes I may have made. I also am against those little applicators that come with some eyeshadows. It falls into the category of a sponge, so again, you’re wasting product, and you can’t use them to blend without having to apply MORE productI tend to primarily use a brush or my fingers.  Your fingers can give an even application, and with the skin to skin contact you can feel where the makeup is applied and won’t over apply. Your fingers can be tricky as there is bacteria all around us, so be sure your hands are very clean before you touch your face. A good brush helps to blend the makeup seamlessly and give an even application, and you tend to use less product.
 
LAH – Let’s be honest, there are a million different types of brushes and I don’t have the faintest idea which ones I actually need to use.  Can you break it down for me?
Yanny – I agree, there are a ton of brushes, but you don’t need all of them. As I mentioned earlier, the brush should fit the area on your face you are applying product. I would say to start with the basics. The basics would be: powder, foundation, concealer, eyeshadow, blending/crease, angle, blush, and contour brushes. All of these should be a bit explanatory. A blending brush is used in the crease to blend your eyeshadows, so that you don’t see where they end and begin. An angled brush has multiple uses. You can use it to apply eyeshadow in a specific area, use to apply gel eyeliner, or use to help shape your eyebrows. It’s a pretty efficient and necessary brush.  
 
LAH – What are your favorite brands to use for makeup brushes? 
Yanny – My favorite brand of brushes are Sigma and Sonia Kashuk. These are my favorite because they don’t cost an arm and a leg, but the last forever and DON’T SHED!! Like ever! I can’t stand a brush that leaves my face looking like I forgot to tweeze. Lol!
 
LAH – What’s the proper way to care for your brushes and how often should I be cleaning them?
Yanny – The best way to care for your brushes is to use a brush shampoo (ssssppp…baby shampoo works well too because it’s gentle), or a brush cleaner. Let the brushes soak for about 20 mins in warm water (especially If you haven’t washed them in a while), use a hefty paper towel and be sure to reshape your brush as you wash so it’s still the same shape after it dries. There is also a brush cleaner by Alcone that is the absolute best! It’s soap and water free! It cleans brushes very well and also kills germs :-).
LAH – WOW! So they’re not supposed to look like this…?
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  Oops.
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