Sunday, December 12, 2010

Less is More and Other Half-truths

Because of my recent closet downsizing, I have started living by the "less is more" mantra when it comes to my wardrobe. For instance, what is a better purchase- ten $4 tank tops that will fall apart after the third wash, or two $20 tanks that feel like butter on your skin, fit perfectly and last forever? Over the past couple of years I have been converted to believing the latter. And the most surprising result of this change is a sense of luxury and indulgence I feel when I am dressing, packing or fussing over my wardrobe. I don’t require the quantity of items I once did to get enjoyment out of dressing and creating outfits. Even more surprising is the fact that I actually spend less on shopping trips these days, purchasing fewer items but spending more time considering each piece that makes it into the increasingly tight knit family of my wardrobe.

All of that being said, I thought it would be fun to start a running list of the items I think every gal needs in her core wardrobe. Here is a hint, if something is on this list, I would consider it justifiable to spend a little more for better quality, a fabulous fit, and a basic that will outlast trends and crazy washing machines. And in no particular order here are my first three:

A Nude Heel (well actually two, one for each foot)

Because of my extensive work travel, nude heels have become my best friend. They go with EVERYTHING, every color, every silhouette which means I only have to pack ONE pair of shoes. They elongate your legs by blending in to your skin and not breaking up the line of your leg. I’ve worn the heck out of two pairs this year. One a nude patent pump, and another peep toe pump. I talk about nude shoes so much with my friends (I have an obsession) that one of my girlfriends just bought me a pair of Franco Sarta’s she found on clearance at Marshalls! I think it’s the first time I’ve ever gotten shoes as a gift but I was thrilled!!!!

A little known secret to buying comfy heels is that if you get one with a small platform (I’m talking .5 an inch or less) it will dramatically increase the amount of time you can survive strutting around in those babies!

Dark Wash Jeans

The right cut depends on your shape and your preference. My personal favorites are a very slim boot cut. If you get them dark enough and pair them with the right items they can be work appropriate if your industry will allow it. They can also easily transition into a surprisingly glamorous evening outfit, almost passing for a sexier version of the basic black pant.

The key things to consider when choosing a good pair are the following:

Length- Are you planning to wear with heels or flats? I’ve decided it’s worth it to have pairs specifically for both. I hate it when I ruin a good pair of long jeans by dragging the hems all over the world when I’m in flats.
Material- I prefer a thicker, tightly woven, low or no stretch material. I find they hold their form better and don’t stretch out after a wear or two if I’m on the road. Again it depends on your preference and your lifestyle.
Rise- Butt cleavage isn’t sexy. Ever. Period. Make sure the back of your jeans doesn’t dip to inappropriate lows when you sit, bend, lean, stand etc.
Wash- I know I said dark is best if you were only going to have one great pair of jeans, but there are a lot of variations of wash that would fall under “dark wash”. I find that I prefer an even wash without a lot of “sit lines” on the front, and without much “fake wear”.

The jeans in the photo above are Joe’s Jeans brand. They aren’t cheap, but I found a pair very discounted at a Neiman Marcus Last Call in Houston and have been wearing the hell out of them every since.

Soft T-Shirts

Comfy, cozy t-shirts is one area where I don’t believe “less is more” all the way. I think its good to have a bit of an array of colors to suit your different moods and needs. However, I am a firm believer in “stocking up” when you find something that you love. For instance:

I have fallen in love with “Thread for Thought” tees. They are super soft, made of organic cotton, and only about $10 each. Check out their killer website I wear these to sleep in, to work out in and with jeans to travel. They are very long so I never have to worry about overexposure (see above under “rise”). The deep V-Neck cut is very flattering and highlights the face. This particular cut is very slim and figure flattering as well! I can’t live without these.

Whether its my brand or another you discover for yourself, having a few super soft, cozy tops in your wardrobe is like the adult version of a comfort blanket. And if you pick one in the right color and fabric, you might even manage to feel both comfortable and sexy!

More wardrobe essentials coming soon!!

image one, image two, image three

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vegas: The Gathering

My last business trip to Las Vegas in July was by far my most memorable so far in my career. I had the opportunity to meet and take a photo with John Paul and Eloise Degoria (everyone thinks he is "Paul Mitchell" but actually he is one of the founders of the brand). I wont lie, I was star struck! He is such an inspiring individual and the story of how much perseverance and gusto his rise to the top required always leaves me energized and ready to press on towards my goals!

Here is my favorite Vegas skyline shot!

Here is the view of the arena where the main show was held. Over 3,000 people attended!

The show was a mixture of artistic hair cutting and styling performances, with acrobatics, dance, music and plenty of runway stomping!
After the show was the "Inspiration Party". This acrobat was directly over the dance floor, the WHOLE night, with a huge smile on her face. I love my job too, but dang!
These lovely ladies were oozing style. I wanted to make friends with them!

And here are the cool kids! The girl on the left had the BEST style! I saw her several other days when we were in meetings etc and I wanted to follow her around with my camera (totally not in a creepy way)!

This guy pushed his way past us in line to the after party, swearing his boyfriend was ahead in the line, uh huh sure, I used to use that line (pre-Kyle of course!). But I was obsessed with his jacket and his awesome hair so we let him slide by!

This lovely lady said her inspiration was Minnie Mouse!

This fabulous femme is a stylist at the ARCs salon in Vegas. I loved her rock and roll edge, but she was such a sweet person!

Another ARCs stylist. I LOVE her confidence! It was her hair/bow that made me chase her down for a photo!

Pretty. Simple. Pretty simple!

Loved this girls ensemble! I sat next to her in a training earlier in the day and she had a leopard bow in her hair, and when I complimented her on it, she promptly informed me that it was a baby bow! Note to self!

Destiny and I caught these girls walking around right outside the party with their own bottle of wine. We thought it was funny and liked their look so we struck a pose!

Erin, Tammy and Destiny holding down our post at the inspiration party. This is where we stalked our style prey :)

Part of the DBE team posing with the new Awapuhi Wild Ginger!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Meet Molly!

So, I know I've been missing in action lately. My excuse is that the past few months of my life have consisted of two big focuses:

1. WORK! WORK! WORK! I have neglected blogging and a slew of household chores because I have been so focused on my job for these past few months. I've been traveling quite a bit and have some fun photos that I will be posting up soon from several of my trips!

2. My Health. I decided earlier this year that it was time to lose those pesky lbs that have been following me around for the past few years. I had a few "Aha Moments" including the realization that I have been obsessing over losing weight since forever and that I didn't want to live the rest of my life spending so much energy on that goal. The good news is that I have lost about 20 lbs in the last few months! I still have a little ways to go to be where I want but I am SO EXCITED about my progress and want to share with you one of the keys to my success so far:

Molly Wong Vega!

I met Molly through my dear friend Tehina years ago. I knew that Molly is a Registered Dietitian and on a whim one day I decided to contact her to see if she would be interested in working with me. It was a great decision! Molly was excited to work with me, helped me clearly define my goals, recognized my challenges and gave me the tools to overcome them! Working with her has been a true pleasure.

To be honest, I thought I knew everything there was to know about eating healthy/losing weight (even thought I hadn't been successful, go figure). After all, I had read every women's health/workout magazine published since the age of 16, but she gave me some amazing tips and put things in a really healthy and productive perspective for me. The best thing about working with Molly was that we did all of our correspondence by email! She lives in the Houston area and is open to meeting in person, but I found her web based services to work best for my lifestyle. If you are interested in getting some help with your weight loss/health challenges I would definitely recommend getting in touch with Molly! Here are some of the things that Molly helped me to understand that were key in my success:

1. There are no bad foods. There are things that are better for you and that will make you feel better, but food is not something to feel guilty over or beat yourself up about. Moderation is the goal. You can't have bread, wine and dessert with dinner and expect to lose weight. Chose the one you want the most and savor it. Its really the same as you budget your money!

2. On that same note, portion sizes are key. Molly taught me what a correct portion was and I quickly realized that I had been consuming way more calories than I thought because of large portions. I also realized that when I really savored my food, it took much less to satisfy my taste buds!

3. You don't need to use food to relate to people or as a social tool. Molly helped me see that I was using food as a way to connect with people and it was really unnecessary, I have amazing family and friends who love me and want me to be healthy! I don't need to eat dessert just because my dinner companion is.

4. I feel so much better both physically and emotionally when I make healthy choices for myself.

5. Find what works for you and your lifestyle and do that! Molly actually created two eating plans for me because of my crazy lifestyle. She made one for when I am at home and one for when I am traveling. They are both very specific to my food and restaurant preferences with small tweaks to create options conducive to reaching my health goals.

Here is what to expect when you work with Molly towards your goals:

-First Molly will ask you to fill out a very detailed questionnaire about you eating habits and preferences. She will also ask that you eat as you always do for a week and keep a food journal so that she can see what you are currently eating and use this information as she builds your plans.

-Molly will then create a meal plan for you (or two in my case) that will have healthy options along with portion sizes. This is more of a guideline for you to use when you aren't sure what the right option is. As you begin to build better habits you will not need to eat strictly off of the plan she creates but will need to draw from the things you've learned to make good choices.

-After a couple of weeks on your meal plan, Molly will consult with you about what is working and what challenges you are facing. She will then make any necessary tweaks to your plan!

-You can expect to receive periodic emails from Molly, following up on your progress. I found her emails to be extremely inspiring and I could really tell that she was sincerely rooting for me to succeed!

Here is some pricing information (check with Molly directly for more detailed information):

Initial Health Assessment, Diet Record Analysis, and 4 weeks of follow up correspondence: $100
Meal Plans: from $20 depending on needs/detail desired
Monthly Follow-up and Meal Plan Adjustment after first month: $50

Here is her contact information:

Molly Wong Vega MS, RD, LD
Nutrition By Molly LLC
Houston, Texas
(832) 380 – 4906

Thanks again to Molly for believing in me and helping me make some permanent changes to my life! I am so happy, have so much more energy and just feel generally better about myself. You are amazing!

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Orleans: Lafayette Cemetery

I recently had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans for the first time on a business trip. I did manage to find some time to do some looking around and found myself extremely inspired by all of the textures and colors of the Lafayette Cemetery. Here are some of my favorite pictures:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Fine Art of Taking a Compliment

Dear Girls, Women, Ladies and Friends Everywhere,

I have a bone to pick with our female-kind. Why is it that we can give compliments all day long but very few of us seem properly equipt to take one?


Someone walks up to you on the street and says "Oh I love your dress". The correct response is:
A. "This is the only piece of clothing I own that will fit my fat ass right now"
B. "I got it for $5"
C. "This old rag?"
D. "Why thank you" with a smile.

Now this is not rocket science. We all know what the right response is to a compliment don't we? You simply thank the complimentor for noticing your fabulousness and go on about your business. If you happen to notice something about them that you genuinely and sincerely appreciate, why not reciprocate?

Why? Why? Why do we often talk ourselves down as our friends, family or even strangers make attempts to build us up. If we can't learn to take compliments for ourselves, then we should do it for them. Nothing is more uncomfortable than having a female you've complimented dog themselves right after you told them something you appreciate about them (whether physical or otherwise). If you think about it, that is the social equivalent of outright arguing with someone who is trying to be nice to you!

This is something I have personaly been working on for years now. And I would like to think that I have improved by leaps and bounds since initially noticing this weakness in myself. After quite sometime of making an effort to simply say "Thank You" when someone says something nice, something strange began to happen. I actually started believing, to some degree, the nice things that people were saying to me. Not to say that I don't occasionally think to myself "This old thing?" when someone says they like my shirt, but the simple act of speaking the words "Thank You" somehow make the nicety a little more true. And nothing feels better than making someone else feel good about themselves. So go ahead, say "Thanks" and make your complimentors day! You might even gain a little more confidence in the process.



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Few Newbies

I seem to have kept the shopping at bay quite well over the past few months. It might have something to do with my insanely busy schedule and the whole "paying two mortgages" thing. Needless to say, there have been a few things that have caught my eye and made the cut despite the current schedule and fiscal climate! And here they are:
The newest member to my little Michael Kors collection. It's true love!

This is the closest thing I could find to my new "tassel" necklace from forever 21!

I picked these babies up in Houston, pulled the classic "No, I can't buy them. Then went back 2 hours later" move. :)

Image 1; Image 2; Image 3

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Natural? Beauty?

I have had "natural beauty" on my mind a lot lately. This is an interesting topic to me as someone who earns her living working in the multi-billion dollar beauty industry. Sometimes the message this industry sends is "you will be beautiful once you purchase Product X, Product X will change your life". Coming from a place somewhere between girly and tomboy, I can see both sides of this issue.

One of the first fights I ever got in with my life-long bestie was over makeup. My parents let me start wearing pressed powder (the old school mint green cover girl compact!) and lip gloss at the ripe old age of 12. Today's 12 year old would probably revolt at the thought of no makeup, but my best friend, then 13, was still not allowed to partake in the pleasures of self-enhancement. I remember well the heated notes we passed each other debating the topic. At the time I thought that she was just jealous that her parents wouldn't afford her the same freedom in the beauty dept (probably some truth to that) but now looking back... I think she was right. Why? Why walk down the path of looking at yourself to find things to "fix"at such a young age. In my parents defense I was a very determined and convincing adolescent.

As an adult, the idealistic thought that I am fine as I am and society/work/friends/significant others can just deal with it doesn't carry the same conviction. This is especially true when the daily duties of your job require that you get excited about Product X and how it is going to change your customers' business and, in turn, change their clients' lives!!

I'm only being half-sarcastic as there are beauty products that DO change lives... Skeptical? Case in point: concealer. Okay so maybe concealer wont make you rich or significantly more beautiful... but for people with scars or skin conditions, concealer could be the difference between being able to look people in the eye all day long or not. Need another example? How about hair products? I have several friends with beautiful "naturally curly" hair that would look like the result of a violent electrocution without certain products. Said products would have to be manually pried from cold dead hands to get these friends to go au natural. Now both of those examples are extreme cases but I can speak for myself and say that when I am feeling good about myself, I have a better day. When I have a better day, hopefully every person I come into contact with is affected by that in a positive way, and that is nothing to scoff at!

So in conclusion... I have decided to take it down a notch. I love nothing more than when my husband proclaims me his "natural beauty" and it just doesn't sound the same from under 4 layers of makeup. Don't get me wrong... if I bump into you on a night on the town, don't be surprised if I am rocking a smokey eye! Everything in its time and everything in its place!


P.S. Check out this months Marie Claire with Jessica Simpson on the cover with air dried hair and no makeup. That is some natural beauty if you ask me! Here is a link to the shots from the story.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Boston Trip Packing Tips

Over the last few years of traveling for work I have gotten pretty good at packing and planning for trips. I'm getting ready for a trip to Boston and I thought I would share my method of choosing what goes and what stays!
So here is how I go about packing:
First, I determine how many days I will be staying wherever it is I am going. Next, I mentally walk myself through each day and the different activities that are on the agenda. I then make a list of the quantity of each type of outfit I think I will need. For instance, for this trip my "outfit tally" looks like this:

2-travel outfits (something super comfy, shoes that slip on and off for security lines)
2-business casual outfits (I only have two days where I need this type of outfit but I will bring three just to be sure. Sometimes I get where I am going and am just not "feeling" the outfit I brought so I like to have an extra for important trips).
3-casual downtime outfits (I like to feel put together when I am traveling, especially when I am traveling for work because it is usually to big cities where people are OH SO stylish!)

In addition, I have to remember pjs, workout clothes and underpinnings.

Here are the outfits I chose to bring to Boston:
This One is for my 5am flight. Comfy but still chic.

This is one of my choices for a "cocktail" type event. I don't want to show too much skin in a work setting.

Here is my other cocktail outfit for a second party.

This Calvin Klein dress is an easy work outfit for trips. It never wrinkles and looks put together.

Work outfit #2

Work outfit #3

Super excited about this new work outfit! This is what happens when I play in my closet! Also, notice that this is the same skirt from the cocktail outfit.

Another new work option and another usage of that black pencil skirt! This outfit inspired...

This one! I thought if it was cute with a skirt it would be cute with skinny jeans and flats!

Another "around town" outfit for checking out the sights of Boston!

Here are some of my general packing tips:

-try to minimize the number of pairs of shoes you bring to save space! I realize how versatile my nude pumps are after packing for this trip/doing this post.

-don't ever pack something you don't usually wear in your hometown. If you don't wear it at home, why would you wear it somewhere else?

-whenever possible, bring separates that you can mix and match to lighten your load. Dresses are also an easy way to be put together while on the road.

-try to work your bulkiest piece(s) into your travel outfit to save space in your luggage.

-don't forget your jewelry/accessories. They don't take up much space and can make a big impact!

-always, always, always "less is more" when packing.

Post any packing/traveling tips I missed in the comments section!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Finally My Camera Is Here!

My new camera came a couple of weeks ago and I am excited to update my blog more frequently now that I have it!

As of now, it is still a mysterious and strange contraption but hopefully I will get it all figured out pretty quick! I have enjoyed torchuring my dogs (the cat is my friend Jules's) with practice photo sessions and hopefully I am getting the hang of it. Kyle and I spent Easter weekend out at lake LBJ with his parents. They were good sports and went on a cactus hunt/bluebonnet search and we got some fun pictures. Here are some of my pics so far...

Kyle pointed out this lone bluebonnet in the sand on the shoreline of Lake Buchanan.

The carp were spawning n LBJ and Lake Buchanan. I couldn't believe that my camera could get such a clear shot of them!

Hands down my favorite spot. This was about a quarter mile off of the road and when I saw it I got so excited. It just looks like the perfect Texas hill country spot.

We had to pose in my spot!

Ann and Mark being good sports in the bluebonnets!

Me and Ann!

My friend's cat "Seven" or as I like to call him "Siete".

My boys enjoying a trip to Jones Brother's Park by our house.

Cabo's regal profile.