Last night I wandered up to a different kind of bar, one I’m coining….The Bathtub Bar.

Bath Bar Faves

Bath Bar Faves

Bar carts are the “old-is-new” rage right now, and I personally prefer vintage for price and more interesting vibe.

It was nearly two years ago we finally dove head-first into a master-bath reno, one I’d been visioning for 7 years since moving in with Ron and the boys. It was the final frontier in our testosterone-filled home, and I couldn’t wait to soak in luxury.

Pinterest not yet the rage, I tore out magazine pages galore of tubs, tiles, and towels.  The tub with it’s jewelry overhead (a.k.a. chandelier) turned out to be my pièce de résistance. Like a beautiful white sculpture she graces the room.

Jewelry for the bath

Jewelry for the bath

I’m not sure what it is about taking a bath however, it always seems a bit too time consuming, or so I’ve thought, so sculpture beauty sits empty most the time.

Until last night… a slight cold nip in the air and a longing to relax, I soaked away the stress of the last week. Reaching over to my little bar area laden with lovelies and treats for the face, water, and feet, I was reminded…

The sculpture awaits!

The sculpture awaits!

So often we miss out on special perks we’ve worked hard for, be it vacation days, lunch hours, or moments alone to push stress down the drain. We tell ourselves there’s no time, or it’s too inconvenient, when a few minutes of planning could make for refreshment and new motivation, well-deserved if not essential.

What makes your heart sing, relax, motivate, and energize? Do you have refreshment rituals you prioritize? How can you allot even a few moments daily for restorative measures?  Do them regularly and soon they’ll become your must-do essentials, bar none.

 

 

 

 

 


SaraBlakely-412x550I love the story of Sara Blakely, how she invented and overcame a dozen “no thanks” moments on the road of inventing Spanx. The airport TV’s were showing an interview with her on CNN Saturday.

If you think the American dream is dead, just meet Sara Blakely. She’s never taken a business class in her life, or even worked in her industry. But she’s no accidental entrepreneur. The tenacious Sara Blakely took $5,000 in savings and transformed it into a $500 million dollar-a-year company called Spanx…and she revolutionized women’s undergarments in the process.

In 2012, Forbes named the Spanx founder and inventor the world’s youngest, self-made female billionaire. With Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement, 20,000 pairs of Spanx were sold in less than a day. Spanx can now be found in over 50 countries worldwide, but Blakely’s story is quintessentially American.

She owns 100 percent of her company, has no outside investors, and has never spent a penny on advertising. As with many inventions, it all began as a solution to a nagging problem.

I find Sara’s story so riveting. She’s an all-American blonde beauty in a girl-next-door sort of way, with eyes that sparkle and guts that show success borne of effort and try.

Listening to all the “no thanks” moments and slammed-door-letdowns she describes is encouraging. Who of us hasn’t felt like such a fool at times. I’m sure she wondered who could possibly need “footless control-top undergarments” anyway. Evidently millions.

She refused to let go of her panty-that-doesn’t show, holding on to her day job selling fax machines while selling the dream forward every moment she could. With little money to invest she did the work herself via online research, avoiding high attorney’s fees and making incremental progress.  She developed packaging from her own gut sense and from anecdotal stories about Kodak and others.

We all look with awe upon self-made stories like hers, but I find in her journey the elements required for doing every dream. One idea may make it bigger than another, but you and I can and must apply similar activities if we ever plan to see our dreams succeed.

Passion launches. Vision grows. Tenacity nurtures. Guts gain. Frustration keeps moving, and perseverance prevails.

Sarah’s story may be unique, but isn’t uniquely possible for others who will likewise work hard and believe.


Seems I get a lot of questions this time of year about the fall trends to follow, so here’s my short list of those that will be top-of-mind and closet…

Winter White & Mid-Century Combo

Winter White & Mid-Century Combo

Winter White — Always have been a fan of this. Looks so clean and sleek. Shades of cream and white mixed are good. Varying fabrics and cuts make it work. A simple white cashmere sweater on cream wool pants is always classic and beautiful. These are pieces you hold on to always.

Emerald Green and Berry — Pantone the color experts, named Emerald their 2013 color of the year and I’m glad it’s also showing up in fashion. Just one piece of this color, along with anything in the plum and berry family, will add that updated look. You can always go with an emerald nail color too, which happens to be what I’m putting on this morning.

Fur Fun — You all know I’m a huge fur fan, vintage in particular, glad my flea market jaguar find last fall is ready to wear with its hot pink lining, and never discount the fake fur options from stores like Forever 21 and H&M for economic alternatives. Go with a furry scarf if the coat look isn’t you.

Leather — fake or real, leggings or biker jacket, everyone can sport at least something in leather. Think long leather gloves as an alternative too. I spotted some very cute leather biker jackets at T.J.Maxx last week.  And the leather jackets at Forever 21 can even go in the washing machine. Buy one and you’ll keep it forever, seriously they are timeless.

Emerald, Fur, and Menswear Combo

Emerald, Fur, and Menswear Combo

Menswear — a houndstooth plaid or simple pencil skirt in something plaid, will add an interesting updated vibe. Don’t spend much on this one, it won’t last long.

Mid-Century Mod — LOVE this in decorating, and vintage shops will be THE spot for this trend in fashion, which makes it very affordable too. Google “vintage shop” in your area, look intently through the racks as you have to see potential in this trend, not to mention have a good alterations person to update these items with a more modern vibe.

My favorite can’t-go-wrong shops for trends are: J.Crew, Forever 21, ZARA, T.J.Maxx, and even the outlets such as Nordstrom’s Rack and Saks Off Fifth.  If you’re in NYC check out my list on the home page under Lifestyle, Favorites.

Happy fall fashion everyone!

 


IMG_8067We had a fabulous night last night, women gathered to focus on helping one another move toward doing their dreams, at our Love Your Life event in NYC.

My wonderful guest, Ashlina Kaposta, a.k.a. The Decorista, and I talked about her journey as a young college student, intimidated by the world of design, to now at just over 30 yrs old, taking NYC by storm as a blogger, designer, author, and business coach.

The nuggets of gold Ashlina’s story represents, hold true for all of us. I saw myself in her stories, and realize that all of us share common emotions and roadblocks as we venture toward new frontiers.

Here were a few of the a-ha moments where you could judge by audience reactions, we were hitting common experiences and emotions…

Fake it til you make it.  This is about overcoming all the internal voices that say we’re not ready, and moving forward anyway. The ones who really achieve their goals are not the most qualified, they’re just the ones who do it.

Act like an expert.  Everyone has expertise on something, OR minimally the desire to be seen as an expert.  Ashlina talked about starting her blog four years ago and simply writing about her own ideas, perspectives, and thoughts on design. Little did she know top L.A. designers were reading her blogs and that’s what landed her a first design dream job.

What you love, others will love.  Ashlina uses Instagram as a place to post photos that capture all things design that appeal to her. She figures what she wants to see, and how she describes these things, is what others will want to see too.  She uses her own fun vocabulary, not because it’s perfect grammar, but because it sounds like her.  This is why her following has grown.

Everyone can publish.  With all the online tools available for aspiring authors, no reason you can’t get your work out there soon and become an author. This is what opened up many doors for her to be invited in as a design expert. I’ve found the same true in my career as a speaker. A book legitimizes your voice and is a wonderful way to expand your reach and prestige.

There was much more richness in our interview, but these highlights capture the gold.  It all spawned a super dynamic networking exercise at the end, and judging by how many women lingered long after we finished, we hit the mark!

Thank you to Ashlina, and here’s to a day of dreaming bold til all your dreams come true!

 


If you happen to be in NYC, you simply MUST join us as we kick off our fall season of Love Your Life.  It’s fashion week too, which is only fitting since one good gathering of women deserves another.

Tonight my special guest will be Ashlina Kaposta, also known as The Decorista. Ashlina is recognized for her fabulous ideas, and adding beauty and bliss to all things decor. Her real talent however, is the ingenious ways she teaches women like you and I how to build our brand online, blog with success, turn our dreams into reality, and many other Dreaminista-must-do-techniques for loving our life on many new levels.

We’ve got some fun surprises in store too, so you won’t dare miss this time together. Register here, or at the door, bring every friend you know because a free event like this is not-to-be-missed!

Here’s a little video invite to tell you more…

 


In this Love Your Life Lesson I’m with one of my lifetime best friends, Kathi Graves, as we’re hanging at her house discussing our 4 tips for having a friendship that lasts a lifetime.

In spite of distance, seasons that change, and heartbreaks that come, finding a friend for life is one way to get through life with hope and lots of laughs.

Join us in this brief little chat and see if you resonate….


Macayla Rowe and her beautiful bun

Macayla Rowe and her beautiful bun

I’m always amazed at how few people take a critical look at themselves in light of the trends.  When I mentioned this over lunch on Saturday I got a resounding agreement from four girlfriends, ages 17 to 45.

Macayla Rowe, the 17 yr old, had the cutest bun on top of her head, which is what started the conversation. It’s such a trend these days and  one I absolutely love.

Truth is however, not every face is made for a top-of-head bun. Mine included. My forehead and hairline are just not right for the straight-pulled-back look; neither is my age. But oh how I wish I could do it!

The more we all talked it was fun hearing other trends that deserve a “maybe not for me” perspective…

  • “Bright colored jeans — You gotta have the right thin legs,” one said.
  • “And no shorts with blazers for working women,” another chimed in.
  • “Uh and leggings, PLEASE, without a small toned bumb you bettter be putting a long top over it!” was a last retort.

Just because we love something doesn’t mean it’s for us. True in fashion, work choices, trends, and men.

Admiring something on others is often a great way to enjoy a trend. The challenge is to be careful and honest, because there’s  freedom in a possible no, as much as a have-to yes.

So I’ll keep enjoying the cute bun girls I’m seeing everywhere these days, and watch for another trend that’s more my style. Hmm…Farrah Fawcett anyone?


Excellence is a cultivated art.  You’d think it would come naturally but in truth, it requires study and focus.

It seems to be rare nowadays, yet those who will devote a bit of time and effort to observation and application, can truly be excellent.

Begin by cultivating an eye for excellence, so when you come across what is excellent you will know it.

This principle proves true in relationships, work, and hobbies.  For years before meeting my husband, I prayed over and observed qualities in men that represented excellence, be that in character, work ethic, or their walk with God.  Excellence in men may be rare, but my eye for it was cultivated so that my taste for it became refined. Thus the ability to wait til meeting my excellent Ron, though long and frustrating at times, was non-negotiable.

Work excellence starts with personal attributes…how we approach tasks, co-workers, and our attitude overall.  It then plays out in performance, and results in promotion and recognition, over time if we stay the course and keep the bar raised high.

This eye for excellence plays out in taste and preferences too.  I study beauty in decor, fashion, cooking, and art, pondering why one thing looks of higher quality than another.  That way, when I come across something excellent, I’m able to spot it, hopefully for a great value and price.

If you will cultivate this taste for excellence, and every person can do so, you will be increasingly drawn to what’s best, and find it tough to settle for less.  This is not an arrogant posture of “I’m better than others,” but is rather a reflection of our excellent Father who calls us to an abundant life, saying no to good enroute to best.

I spent the day yesterday doing yard work and alterations on a couple of excellent little numbers my shopping has turned up over the last month.  Thought you might enjoy seeing them.

Happy Weekend excellent friends!

Image 13

Excellent steal, Christian Louboutin hot pink sling-back from NYC consignment shop

Image 12

Cute Shareen Vintage dress, reminded me of a Dolce Gabana floral number, was too big but sewed it in on the sides, at $45 an excellent value!

Image 11

These T.J.Maxx palazzo pants look just like high-end Missoni which would retail for over $1,000, and for just $19 an excellent addition to summer-wear.

 

 

 



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I’m a big believer in taking moments amidst chaos to enliven our hearts and brighten the eyes.  Stress has a way of squelching and robbing us of joy.  It’s so vital to discover creative methods for breathing in fresh air via ways most meaningful to you.

For some it’s exercise, or maybe a walk in nature, listening to music, reading or taking a nap.  For me, it’s snagging some shopping moments even when demands (like pulling off a wedding) are high. Many times I don’t buy a thing. Just perusing beauty, retail-style, is what seems to do it for me.

Here are some photos of what inspired my eyes and heart on Monday, shopping with Mom for a few brief moments enroute to a long leisurely lunch with my sister and niece.  She’s been my fave shopping companion for as long as I can remember.  I look, she affirms, and we often find ourselves sharing joy and bringing hope to a store owner we meet.  Ahh the adventures of retail therapy for all.

So enjoy what lightens YOUR load this week, and never apologize for what you love.  Only you can know what best fills your cup back up to the brim.


The man on the escalator behind me says, “Are those cropped pants?”  “Why yes they are, ” I turn and smile.  “Okay Mary Tyler Moore,” he laughs, to which I add, “And black cropped pants are ALL the rage for fall!”  He walks off laughing, obviously grateful Mary told him the scoop.

Classic Mary

This month’s British Vogue is the source for the black cropped pant tip, and being a fan of Mary Tyler Moore brings to mind the principle that everything old is eventually new again.  It’s why I like vintage, AND why I’ve been thinking lately that I should read more historical biographies.

Somehow we assume that what’s NOW is NEW when typically it’s not.  The way we think, look, act, and feel has all been done before. King Solomon put it,

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

This brings an interesting comfort. Maybe my dramas and traumas aren’t so bad afterall, or indicative that somehow I’m stranger than most.  Our mantra should be, What can I learn from those who’ve walked ahead?

You all know I enjoy following the trends, but the key is not just blindly adapting to the latest, greatest ideas.  First ask, “Should I?”  Second ask, “How should I?”

ImageWith black cropped pants for instance, there’s a lot of shin length that offers hem placement options.  Find the most flattering length for you and go with it. Don’t just take what an unknown manufacturer says will look right on you.

Living in an ever-changing culture is no different.  I must never let go of my standards of ethics or character to follow the neckline, headline, or pick-me-up line, even if trends say I should.

So all this to say, I’m pulling out the CBT (cropped black trouser) for fall, and having more listening conversations as a start to historical biographies.  Oh and maybe time to catch an old Mary Tyler Moore show too.  Because every modern working girl needs career tips that never grow old.

Happy weekend everyone!