Aug 31, 2014

9 Years and Counting: Love & Marriage

I remember growing up as a young girl and having dreams of what the future would hold. Truth be told, I was quite uncertain of what the future would be. Life as a child wasn't always peaches and cream. But then again what is life without struggle, right? Unlike many women, my dreams never consisted of that quintessential fairy tail wedding. Instead, I would often have dreams of the "perfect marriage"---and for the record it did include a white picket fence. So when it was time to wed the man of my dreams in 2005, the details of my big day were quite sketchy. Intentionally. We decided that $5000 would be our total budget, which included my dress, his tux, the venue, invitations, reception and all else. Surprisingly we managed to stay under that initial budget, leaving us with a couple extra cash in the end. Obviously the concept of a lavish and extravagant nuptial affair wasn't my cup of tea. Neither was a trip down to the local court house. So we opted for something in the middle. An all inclusive affair where we would invite an intimate number of friends and family on a local dinner yacht on a muggy September evening. 

The Dress. Ha. So the budget fashionista in me happened to be scouring the racks at a local Ross Dress for Less and stumbled upon this awesome (so I thought at the time) perfectly simple and whimsical wedding dress. It was nothing special. A couple ruffles at the top,spaghetti straps made out of chiffon. It was 2002 when I had purchased the dress. Yup, it hung patiently in my closet for three whole years where I would make frequent closet drop ins for the sake of admiration. Fast forward to 2005----the wedding was right around the corner and two weeks before----I hated that perfect $20 chiffon dress I had enthusiastically scored three years prior at that Ross Dress for Less. Panic set it. Oh, the stress. Five days before the wedding---I found it. I had found a modern version of my so called "perfect dress" that I once adored. It was a Cache clearance special. The problem? It was a size 10 and I was a size 4. I scooped it up in a hurry and rushed to the register. I wasn't sewing at the time so I had to rely on my local alterations lady to put a rush on it. So she did, barely in the nick of time. Whew! But all of the wedding day drama and circumstances bared minimal significance to the life long partnership that the Mr. and I had vowed to continue through holy matrimony. Nothing! Not the wedding day pomp and circumstance, rumors and innuendo---and certainly not even the naysayers who may have doubted whether our union would withstand the test of time. I'd be dishonest to say that marriage is a cake walk, but certainly honest in saying that it takes sacrifice, communication and respect. What has fourteen years (we dated 5 years before tying the knot) of togetherness thought me? 
  • Shut up and listen. It can't always be about you. If you are doing most of the talking and minimal are being selfish.
  • Do you. No marriage or relationship is the same. What works for mine, simply may not work for yours. 
  • Keep folks out of your life. Now, I'm not saying that you can't confide in mama or your the BFF. Know the limits. Not everything should be told. And not everyone's opinions on your marriage and relationship should be valued. Honestly, I'm simply not going to take much or any (for that matter) advice on parenting from non-parents. Same thing with marriage. If you've been there and done that---all advice and experiences are kindly accepted. No one is an expert at a particular subject matter unless they've lived it. 
  • Communicate. Always speak your mind----truthfully. 
  • Have Respect. This one is pretty simple. Know the boundaries of respect in your marriage. If you don't know what they are, find out. Nobody wants to be disrespected--- and shouldn't be. This is the foundation of any relationship. 
  • Stick to what works. There are many life events that requires personal adjustment. For me---it was college, marriage and motherhood. These three life events presented me with a challenge of defining who I was and who I wanted to be as an young adult, wife and mother. There is an old saying--if it's not broken, don't fix it. When you discover what works in your marriage, don't change a thing.
  • Put your pride and ego aside. Lord knows there will be disagreements. We've had our share.  You have got to know when to put your pride aside and own up to your crap (for a lack of better word). 
  • Never stop laughing. One way to tell if your marriage is in trouble is if the laughter is gone.  If there is no laughter, then more than likely there will be no happiness.  
  • Never stop dating. No matter how busy and crazy life gets, never stop dating. It will keep the spark alive.
  • Know your purpose. This has gotta be the most important aspect of a marriage in my opinion. Just like dating. You want to know what is the end game? Is it marriage? Or is it simply a good time? Marriage works the same way. Why are you married? The reason has to reach far beyond love. Love just simply isn't enough. For me, the concept of having someone who would love and accept me unconditionally while I'm at my best and worst moments certainly was attractive. But building a strong family structure and a life long partnership that included selflessly giving to someone who would also selflessly give to me could only yield nothing less than a lifetime of goodwill. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Nine years ago around this time I was prepping to walk down the isle to join this funny, handsome and awesome guy on a wonderful journey together in life. We had no idea just what a wonderful and blessed journey it would be. Cheers to love and happiness! Until next time friends. . . . Peace, Love & Blessings!

Aug 29, 2014

HSN Studios Blogger Event

Hey Beauties. I stopped by the Home Shopping Network (HSN) Studios yesterday to attend a blogger event with the retail giant. I have always been a fan of HSN and when I was presented with the opportunity to visit their studios, I was uber excited. Located in St. Petersburg FL, the iconic retailer hosted myself and a couple other bloggers from the Tampa Bay Area. I had the pleasure of meeting the President, VP of Public Relations and other members of the HSN team. The visit consisted of a tour of the grounds, which provided an indebted and behind the scenes look at what started as an on-air radio program selling can openers to a brand that has revolutionized the home shopping experience. Yup, that's right. Can openers. How is that for an inspirational story? Thirty plus years later and HSN is still at the forefront of revolutionizing the interactive home shopping experience for millions of consumers.

It was truly fascinating to witness the ins and outs of the corporate, studio and broadcasting operations. Prior to my tour, I had always envisioned that the on-air programming was a scripted process. I was wrong. Designers, hosts and models are always live and never scripted. The amount of work that it takes to prep the set, wardrobes, etc was quite fascinating. As a style and interior design enthusiast, I was blown away by the style and interior design elements throughout the spaces. Read along and check out some of the images captured of this fabulous event. 
I met fellow bloggers and handbag designers Tina Craig and Kelly Cook of Snob Essentials. Their handbag collection is so fabulous. The green bag I am holding was a sample that I absolutely fell in love with. Sadly, it wasn't available for purchase. Check out their fabulous HSN line here.
HSN debuted their annual fall fashion series, The Fashion Edit. They've curated an exciting collection of brands to enhance the customer's experience as they transition from summer to fall. One of the brands on board is G by by Giuliana. A line designed by the E!  News TV personality and Journalist.
Our gracious host of the evening. I learned a great deal during our tour.
The Wall of Hosts
You guys know that style & decor is my thing. I've gotta tell you, I was so in awe of how fabulous and well styled all of the sets and spaces were.
I got to play around in the closet.
Giuliana Rancic showcased her fabulous moto inspired jackets. Which are fabulous by the way. You can check out Giuliana's line G by Giuliana on HSN here.
I got to hang out in the beauty bar. It was fun times. I'm sure the look on my face tells it all. 
Outfit Details: Dress: Asos (thrifted) | Pumps: Jessica Simpson via | Bangles: | Glasses:| Bag: Furla
Thanks to my fellow blogger and friend Farrah of Estella Fashion Report for spearheading this amazing event. Special thanks to HSN for hosting us and thanks to Giuliana Rancic for gifting all of the bloggers with a fabulous cardigan from her recent G by Giuliana HSN line. Have a safe and fabulous Labor Day weekend friends. Until next time . . . Peace, Love & Blessings!

Aug 27, 2014

DIY in Review: The Favorites Pt. I

Over the last two years I've been letting my creative juices flow. Sewing is not only a hobby, but a way of life for me. There is nothing more rewarding like having the ability to create. And in the world of fashion where mass fashion dominates an industry where individuality comes far and few in between; sewing provides the flexibility to create garments that are not only one-of-a-kind, but most importantly---custom to my own body type. Today, I've highlighted some of my favorite DIY garments. Clearly this is going to be a multi part series since I have so many sewn garments, many of which I have yet to share with you guys. So stay tuned for more on the DIY front. 
Look 1: Geo Print Silk Blouse | Look 2: Ankara Full Skirt | Look 3: Pencil Skirt | Look 4: Floral Harem Jumpsuit | Look 5: Parisian Graphic Top | Look 6: Bling Blue Bodycon Dress: Look 7: Wool Blend Lettuce Edge Dress | Look 8: Geo Print Sheath Dress | Look 9: High Waisted Pencil Skirt | Look 10: Backless Maxi Dress (worn as skirt)

I have all of my fall fabrics prepped and ready to go. The difficult task is trying to figure out which will be first in line and what I'm actually going to make. LOL. But with Fashion Week 2014 on the horizon, I am pretty sure that I'll have ample inspiration coming my way. Until next time. . . .Be Bold. Be Fabulous. Be You!

Aug 25, 2014

Back to School Essentials

All good things must come to an end. That is one of life's fundamental teachings. This includes officially saying our goodbyes to summer and welcoming fall. The school season is here and that means checking those school necessities off of our checklist. My baby boy is in kindergarten this year, and as you've heard me say many times--where did the time go? As parents, not only do we need to ensure that our kids have what they need at school, but we also have to make sure that they have the the right necessaries at home. I'm sending some love and appreciation to all of the wonderful educators out there as they head back to school to provide guidance, love and encouragement to our kids. Your influence and dedication is paramount. What's on your back to school checklist?

Aug 23, 2014

Neon Brights: Neon Shirt Dress

Hey beautiful! When I visited my hair stylist recently---- she mentioned how she couldn't believe that the summer was almost to an end and that she couldn't believe that she hadn't seen me wearing any neon the entire summer. She was right. It was as if I had placed the "Be Bold" of Be Bold. Be Fabulous. Be You! on hold. And certainly, with all that is going on in the world, I couldn't have picked a better time to brighten things up.
Outfit Details: Dress: LA Boutique (Old) | Pumps: Prabal Gurung for Target (Old) | Necklace: Fashion Fab Boutique (Old) | Sunnies: LV (thrifted) | Bag: Sole Society (Old) | Belt: Dolce & Gabbana | Watch: Michael Kors

Whatever your plans this weekend, put a smile on someone's face. Until next time. . . . .Peace, Love & Blessings!