Friday, November 29, 2013

What's black, red, & Friday all over?

Jacket: TJ Maxx // Dress: Forever 21 // Necklace: JCrew // Rings: Vintage // Lipstick: Maybeline Rum Richie

Black Friday. A time where people take their stuffed Thanksgiving bellies to stores, and instead stuff many shopping bags.

My sister and I have done Black Friday since we were teenagers and thus, partook in the coolest thing ever --- driving to a store unsupervised at 3am. Since these days, Black Friday has started earlier and earlier, many stores opening Thanksgiving evening. We choose not to participate in that. Especially when the online shopping scene is so good (my dear friends ASOS, Cole Haan, Kate Spade & Gap were having MAJOR sales today!) 

So this year, my sis and I traded in our 3am shopper sweatsuits, and ventured out at 9am (sacre bleu!) to the local Lord & Taylor. The crowds at L&T were reasonable, and we still snuck away with some awesome deals. The tradition stays alive!

What were your favorite deals this year? 

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and shared happy moments with those you love! 


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

'Tis the Season: Libby Russell of The Sugars

In the spirit of this week, I am so very thankful for friends like Libby Russell. Libby and I met while working as tour guides in Elon University's Admissions office. We spent afternoons convincing prospective students why Elon is a fantastic school, and during this time, I found that Libby had a natural way of reminding people of the fantastic parts of life. Her sense of humor, wit, and contagious enthusiasm are just a few of the traits that this woman brings to the table.

So, this week, I invited Libby to contribute a piece on gratitude. Libby's blog, The Sugars, speaks to women in their 20's - particularly diabetic women - and empowers them to appreciate the adventures of everyday life, face challenges with a sense of humor, and remember that life can be very sweet. 
Chances are, you have looked in the mirror and muttered some pretty rude things to yourself a few times lately. Understandable. The holidays are an insane time of year. It’s impossible not to fall behind at work, spend every penny you have, gain a single pound, or piss off your family for being drunk in front of your grandmother while pulling on your perfect party pants on every day of the week.

Our bodies are put through the junk food and hangover trenches from October through January. There are adorable little cookies everywhere. We have to eat them – it’s mandatory. Apparently, alcohol is bad for you (or so I’m told). Sleeping for 8 hours is at the bottom of our to-do lists…and to be honest, aint nobody got time for that. There are turkeys to be cooked and center pieces to be assembled. And, if anyone thinks we’re walking outside in the freezing cold to an establishment that qualifies as a “fitness facility” they’re drunk.

Clearly, it’s a serious challenge to feel pulled together enough to keep up with Santa’s list of demands. Newsflash: baby girl, sometimes you just cannot. Driving yourself bonkers trying to make it to every Friendsgiving, Thanksgivukkah, and Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl is a recipe for disaster. We so easily forget, due to the Christmas lights that have been projectile vomited over every tangible surface, what this time of year is truly about. Unfortunately, it takes a little bit of work to slow down and realize this. I have developed a practice that keeps me energized and in a good emotional space during a time where it feels like every move I make is to make someone else happy. So what is this magical gem of a life trick? Finding something about my mind, body, or spirit to be thankful for as often as possible and making a verbal or mental note of it.

We tend to drink a lot of “personal haterade” during stressful or overwhelming times. Sadly, it’s often because we don’t believe in ourselves and our ability to be impressive among the impressers. It’s not an easy task, but I challenge you to take moment to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and just say to yourself, “Girlfriend…you’re doing better than you think you are. Thank you for all that you do for me every day.” I especially challenge you to make this something you appreciate about your physical self.

Thank your booty for looking stunning at the holiday party in your new LBD. Thank your hair for cooperating during your big presentation so that you could focus on kicking the content’s ass and being a baller in front of your boss. Thank your tendonitis- ridden knees for being strong enough to take you that extra mile. Or how about your arms for being buff enough to open copious bottles of wine on a weekly basis? Don’t kid yourself; you’ve had many necessary bottles recently. You’re practically a body builder. Take a minute and look at your smile in the mirror – let yourself appreciate how quirky, charismatic, and radiant it is. Remind yourself just how many people feel goofy little warm fuzzies every time you flash that bad boy. 

See how good this feels? Trust me sister, this is not vanity, this is empowerment. It’s confidence and confidence is sexy. 

Tis the season for giving thanks. Yes, it’s always incredibly important to vocalize your appreciation for your friends, family, and privileges you’ve been lucky enough to have. But let’s not forget to thank ourselves. Courage, strength, and love start from within, and if you feel it for yourself, it’ll make the holidays that much brighter when you share it with others.

Libby Russell works at a consumer collaboration agency in the city of champions, Titletown, USA (ok, fine. She lives in Boston). When Libby is not tracking email marketing metrics and geeking out over infographics at work, she can be found in downward dog at her local yoga studio, pretending she’s not looking for Tom Brady while going on runs throughout the city, escaping to Maine where she grew up, and tinkering her diabetes insulin pump, Derek. 

Libby frequently cozies up with a large glass of Malbec while she writes for her blog, The Sugars. Inspired by an SNL skit about Paula Deen, Libby’s pieces speak to women in their 20’s – especially diabetic women – and empowers her readers to be ridiculous, bring a sense of humor to new challenges, and be grateful for every ounce of awesome they encounter in their daily adventures.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rock Your Body!

Looking for ways to supercharge your body confidence? Check out my latest contributor article for fabulous fitness blogger Evann Clingan.

Evann's site focuses on health, fitness, and NYC life through cataloging experiences that offer readers ways to live a more fulfilling life. As fitness and body image are so closely connected, I was delighted when Evann invited me to share some thoughts on her site.

Enjoy! Article here, and below.

For the full article visit:
Confidence shouldn’t come with a size chart. There are so many factors that can affect the way we see ourselves. I’m here to talk about positive ways that you can supercharge your body confidence.

Tip #1: Stop defining yourself by what clothing size you are.
The truth is we have to know our typical size in order to buy clothes (and take it from a gal who loves to shop). But the (often dreaded) size chart can have a big affect on a gal’s confidence. When going shopping, try to stop thinking, “oh I really should be more like a ‘size x,’” but rather take a few sizes into the fitting room and see what size looks best on your body. More often than not, women can fit into 3 or more sizes at any given weight.

Try this. Cut tags out of clothing or mark out sizes with a permanent marker. Wear whatever size makes you feel best in the outfit (a good tailor can be a gal’s best friend!).

Tip #2: Commit to an exercise that you enjoy!
Many studies have shown over time that physical activity is a far more important predictor of health than body size is. Exercise is clearly good for a healthy body, but endorphins are great for a healthy mind. But rather than dreading working out, try to get those important 30 minutes of cardio/day doing something you enjoy!

If you don’t like running, don’t do it just because you have to. Try a different exercise: Zumba, spin, dance, or even test out the latest fad workout (aqua spin, anyone?) Doing something that you enjoy, and feel that you are good at, can be a great way to boost your body confidence (take another look in the mirror!).

Tip #3: Remember how much your body does for you.

The human body is most incredible. Be kind to your body, and be gentle with yourself. Every body is different, and you need to listen to your own. That said, there are general guidelines that you can apply to your life. Make sure your body is getting the rest it needs (we know that 8 hours is a good benchmark). Eat a varied and balanced diet (one that makes you feel satisfied, and includes the various nutrients that you need). Spend some time getting your heart rate up each day (do something you love!). The more you love your body, the better you will feel!

Most importantly, your body uses only 17 muscles to smile (which sounds like a lot, but it takes 43 muscles to frown). And smiling is the ultimate key to confidence. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Professional polka.

Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft // Jacket: Jones New York // Tank: American Apparel (similar) // Watch: Skagen
Let's start with the classic black skirt (that lives in every girl's closet). I think workwear is the optimal time to utilize this everyday basic. Coming from a gal who has to make a conscious effort not to wear all black all the time, I paired the token black skirt with a polka print tank and a bright blue jacket (I am in love with cobalt). Bringing different prints and bold colors into the outfit, brings new life to my favorite black skirt. 

What are your favorite workwear pieces? 

Happy professional polka-ing,

P.s. Thank you to the fantastic photographer, Brandi Whitlock

Monday, November 11, 2013

Purple hat.

Dress: Calvin Klein // Sweater: 525 America // Boots: Ralph Lauren // Necklace: JCrew // Purse: Rebecca Minkoff
I almost feel like I'm in a relationship with this purple hat. I bought it last year (on clearance) before this type of hat was really in style. Since then, I have gotten more wear out of this guy that many of my items of clothing. Bad hair day? He's there. Strange cow lick? He's there. Want to hide on a rainy Sunday? Grab le purple hat!

The New York weather has been rather chilly, yet we have days where the sun peeks through and it's warm enough that we're not needing our enormous puffy jackets (just yet). 

I styles this outfit around my loyal purple hat, to create a cool and comfortable fall outfit. I reused a summer dress here, layered under an oversized sweater (you can find these in your Grandpa's closet, or a thrift shop - Macklemore shoutout!). This is my casual look for a Sunday brunch or window shopping in Soho. 

When you feel uninspired by an outfit, or just generally blue, I recommend going with your version of the purple hat, then adding a smile, and voila! It guarantees to spruce up any outfit. 

xx sjb