Category Archives: The Good Life

Fashion Reboot – Edit Your Wardrobe, Upgrade Your Style

Fashion Reboot – Edit Your Wardrobe, Upgrade Your Style

Imagine if every item of clothing, shoes and accessories that you owned were the inventory of your own personal store – sorted by size, color, and department. Now imagine that you have unlimited spending power in this custom boutique, what would you buy? I don’t know that any of us would choose to buy everything - remember that sale, that fad, that size you will be soon, or that shoe that ran big? Obviously you wouldn’t buy anything stained or ripped, and you probably would sort out items that needed to be altered to see if they are worth the investment. You definitely would want to try items on, if you have to hold your breath or be in pain while wearing it do you really want to own it? Once you have eliminated the obvious – how do you edit the rest to create your ideal wardrobe?

Jesse Garza & Joe Lupo of Visual Therapy have written one of the best five step “get your act together” books for fashion- Nothing to Wear? From defining your style to maintaining and nurturing your new sense of style, this is a gift to all who want to establish their very own fashion sense to those who are ready to take it to the next level.

Nothing to Wear? is a great framework to build your wardrobe, Jesse and Joe also have written Work It!: Visual Therapy’s Guide to Your Ultimate Career Wardrobe and Life in Color: The Visual Therapy Guide to the Perfect Palette — for Fashion, Beauty, and You! Once you have the basics down, you can build from there. The basics really work for everyone and make a difference not only for your professional life and major events, but for your day to day activities. Who hasn’t met someone they would like to make a good impression on in the supermarket or at the post office? You can be at your best even in your “running errands” gear.

I like to revisit step #2  - Edit Your Wardrobe – every so often, especially during my fresh page mindset that comes with each January 1st! My biggest downfall is the idea I grew up with of “saving for good”. While this made sense in the  post depression age of my mom and her generation where budgets were tight, and items were few, realistically right now I will not live long enough to wear what I may be potentially “saving for good”. This also brings about the idea that fewer quality pieces that are versatile make a lot more sense than a closet divided between amazing and, well not so amazing.

Make sure to have the organizing 101 tools of a keep, throw away, and give away box/bin/bag. An additional benefit to editing your wardrobe is the ability to pass on items to those who could really use them. If you have a lot of professional pieces make sure to check with local organizations that assist those searching for a job – they truly appreciate being able to help their clients put their best foot forward while interviewing.

One of the best gifts of really putting your wardrobe together is time. If everything you put your hand on is wearable, looks good, is clean and in great condition, and you can locate it easily it will be a game changer. You also add a boost of self confidence when you know you look good,  and you feel good in what you are wearing.

Ferragamo Tina Pump - Brown, Burberry Leather Trimmed Felt Fedora

Ferragamo Tina Pump – Brown, Burberry Leather Trimmed Felt Fedora

 

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Looking For My Snark…..

Looking For My Snark…..

I have been informed by trusted friends that there is something missing from my blogs – something they feel is vital to me being me – snarkiness.

I agree with them but, much like Barry Manilow in the late seventies, I have been having trouble” tryin’ to get the feeling” of my inner black heart. Well, actually Barry was singing about losing the feeling for something else and I am pretty sure he can get a pill for that now – but back to me.

Perhaps part of the loss came from dedicating my website and blog to positive thinking – all of those heady thoughts about self enlightenment and growth really are important to me – but at times they run counter culture to dreaming of a reality show entitled “Did You Wear That On Purpose”.  In wanting to offer a place that offered a shoulder, a forum and an environment of learning and acceptance perhaps I missed the fact that sometimes you also just want a place to  ”let it all hang out”. Less white wine and chai tea and more stiff cosmos and espresso.  Hey – I can do that!!

Perhaps I lwas reminded of something really important here  – being a positive thinker, looking for the good and focusing on kindness, compassion and service doesn’t mean we are not still only human.  I teach that to my family program all the  time and yet seemed to have forgotten for a bit myself. Being “only human” is something to celebrate – we can strive to do good and still enjoy the life we are living. The complexity of humanness is what makes us interesting, diverse and fun.

In the spirit of being true to myself, being human and  being very snarky I promise to cover more bases here. I promise to let just a little more hang out and to remember that no one likes someone who is about being all good all the time. If you only knew the depth of material this has just unleashed……

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Valentine’s Shoes – One Of The Many Joys Of The Day!!

Valentine’s Shoes – One Of The Many Joys Of The Day!!

Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays – I would rank it right after my birthday and right before Christmas.  Long before boyfriends, flowers or feats involved to prove the depths of one’s love – I loved Valentine’s Day.  My earliest memories include a Dad who brought home one of those huge cards with the lace and satin for my Mom, the largest Russell Stover heart and the smaller version for me (I am sure he bought my sister one, but I have blocked that part of this story out – it’s my blog!).

I loved picking out the assortment of Valentines for the class – the kind with one special one for the teacher included.  I am sure they were mostly Barbie themed, with Batman, The Beatles and The Monkees thrown in depending on the year. Our class always had a Valentine’s Mailbox and in the later years of grade school I am sure it was primarily a vehicle for candy and finding out the class crushes. In my all girls high school the celebration continued in that there was a major emphasis on decorating and having class parties (yes, I picked the perfect school for me!).

I remember the first Valentine’s Day I spent with my husband. My then boyfriend walked through the door with a dozen pink roses and – wait for it – the largest pink satin heart filled with chocolates you could imagine. It was a sure sign that this one was a keeper! Not because of the beauty or the size of the gifts as much as the fact that without knowing about it he recreated my idealized childhood ideal of what it meant to have a Valentine.

Years have gone by and we have celebrated in the most extravagant ways, we have also sat with each other being sick, a few bouts of morning sickness thrown in, and then the amazing celebrations with our children. Most importantly over the years the celebration became more and more focused on the meaning of the day – a day to celebrate and honor love in all its many forms. With maturity you learn that love isn’t measured by the gift, but by the day in and day out of being there for each other. True love is so much bigger than two people – it’s opening your hearts to children, to family, to friends, to those in need. It is supporting your partner to be the person they dream of being, while being responsible to continue to grow and learn yourself.

And then, when all is said and done, it’s also about the shoes!! xoxoxo

Valentine's Shoes - Marc Jacobs

 

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All Be Happy Coffee – Laughing Man With A Kick

All Be Happy Coffee – Laughing Man With A Kick

All Be Happy Coffee - Laughing Man + Godiva Liqueur + Brandy + Half & Half

“ If music be the food of love, play on…”  Twelfth Night Act 1, scene 1, 1

Just in time for my favorite holiday – Valentine’s Day – I bring you some love in a cup! All Be Happy Coffee features the amazing combination of Laughing Man coffee, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, Brandy and Half & Half. Add a dash of cinnamon to finish!

This delicious concoction is perfect as is – if you want to elevate it to a full blown dessert you can top it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. If you have a super sweet tooth - stir in a teaspoon of Laughing Man Hot Chocolate or sprinkle some on top.

All Be Happy Coffee is also a great pairing with Laughing Man Tiramisu!  You might also like to try Laughing Man’s new line of chocolates - decadent & delicious with all of the fine qualities that make the coffee & tea so special – it is fairly traded and Rainforest Certified.

Once you have this recipe down use your imagination and try different liqueurs. You can also kick it up a notch higher by adding vodka – try Godiva’s new chocolate infused vodka!

Most importantly – Enjoy & All Be Happy!

All Be Happy Coffee

  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1 ounce Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1 ounce brandy (or cognac)
  • Half & Half to taste
  • Dash of Cinnamon

 

 

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Laughing Man Tiramisu – A True Triple Threat!

Laughing Man Tiramisu – A True Triple Threat!

Delicious coffee, chocolate and doing good – like its namesake this dessert is a true triple threat!  This recipe takes the best of the creamy goodness of a traditional tiramisu and adds chocolate in a starring role. The combination of flavors truly sing and will have you and yours doing a dance of joy! 

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs separated
  • Three tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Three tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • Three tablespoons Marsala wine
  • 1 container Mascarpone cheese
  • 60% Cacao bittersweet chocolate baking bar (I used Ghirardelli) chopped in a food processor
  • 16 – 20 ladyfinger cookies
  • 2 cups strong coffee ( Laughing Man’s Dukales’s Dream or Reserve Indonesia Flores work well, experiment with 184 or your favorite! )

1.  In a double boiler whisk the egg yolks, granulated sugar and Marsala wine vigorously until it thickens into a white custard consistency. As soon as it thickens remove from heat as not to overcook*.

2. In a stand mixer at a high speed whisk the egg whites and confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks begin to form.

3. In a large mixing bowl add the custard and ¾ of the chocolate to the mascarpone cheese, fold with a spatula by hand.

4. To the mascarpone mixture add the egg whites, fold with a spatula by hand.

5. Line 2 8” x 8” serving dishes or one large serving dish with ladyfinger cookies; add coffee to the cookies slowly allowing it to be absorbed, once the cookies are saturated stop.

6. Spread the mixture evenly over the cookies gently as not to break them.

7. Garnish the tiramisu with the remaining chocolate, refrigerate for at least two hours, overnight is best.

You can also make individual desserts in glasses or use the mixture as a cake or pastry filling.

To order Laughing Man products visit http://shop.livelaughingman.com/

*This egg custard is the base for Zabaglione. You can use it just like this or check out recipes that add cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, additional sugar, etc. This is delicious over fresh berries, even better over pound cake and fresh berries! Be creative!!

 

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Work It Wednesday – High Maintenance Can Be A Good Thing!

Work It Wednesday – High Maintenance Can Be A Good Thing!

People use the phrase “high maintenance” as if it’s always a bad thing. In the diva-like, self-centered, it’s all about status symbols way it is, but in taking care of yourself and your things it is a great thing!

By taking care of yourself – physically and emotionally – you are respecting yourself and preparing yourself to take on the world at your best. Regular doctor appointments, eating healthy food, exercising and making time for spiritual and emotional rejuvenation keeps you running in optimal form. I know when I am running at peak form, and when I am not I can usually identify where I have been slacking off.

By taking care of your things you are also exhibiting respect for yourself in that you maintain a certain level of quality and cleanliness in your surroundings and belongings. This includes your home, office, and vehicle as well as your clothing and accessories. While it is true that you should never judge a book by its cover, it is also true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. When you are in peaceful, clean surroundings you are in an environment that enhances your experience. Think about how wonderful it is to be in a beautiful hotel room – part of the beauty for me is the lack of clutter and things I need to take care of, clean or put away! When you are proud of your appearance you have a different level of confidence – whether you are going to the gym, food shopping or working – how you look on the outside does affect how you feel on the inside.

You can be high maintenance, and be proud of it – just make sure it’s the kind of high maintenance that makes you shine inside and out!

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Take Charge Tuesdays: Upgrade Your Social Media

Take Charge Tuesdays: Upgrade Your Social Media

The world of social media changes and grows by the day – but the changes do not have to be daunting. If you take the time to understand the changes and upgrade the sites you use you can get the best of what is offered.

Social media has become day to day communication with friends and family, a source of news, a business tool and an outlet for self expression. While not everyone will see the need or feel comfortable with all aspects offered, having basic social media knowledge is becoming a necessary skill.

The basics to consider are a facebook page and a twitter account – these can be a fun way to communicate and update your immediate circle. You can utilize both of these platforms to expand your business presence online and stay in touch with clients while building referral opportunities.

Foursquare allows you to check in  from wherever you are and rate businesses and locations.  You also have the opportunity to add photos and comments. While you may not want to check in at your home address or add every place you may be at due to safety and privacy reasons,  for business use this is a great way to promote an event or an open house.

If you are interested in your own website or blog you can look into hosting and domain sites such as godaddy.com and web building sites such as wordpress.com. Depending on whether you will be using these for personal or business content you may want to consider hiring a professional to get you up an running.  I used  The Tech Byte which specializes in social media platforms for real estate professionals and I could not have been happier with the results. While real estate consulting is a specialty, they can also either help you with your set up or direct you to the best place to suit your needs.

Not every social media platform may be for you, but for both social and business purposes being present and feeling comfortable with the choices offered is really important. Being social media savvy is truly a way to take charge!!

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Soulful Sunday – Clean Something Out Today!

Soulful Sunday – Clean Something Out Today!

Use today as a fresh start to the new week & clean something out.

Choose one thing to work on today and clean it out – pick a drawer, a room, a briefcase or pocketbook, a car, mail, bills, emails, a closet. Pick something that you can complete today so that you can experience a sense of accomplishment.

Now pick something inside to clean out – negativity, resentment, envy, procrastination, fear, avoidance.

As you do your physical cleaning let your mind work on the other aspect of yourself you would like to see gone as well, let the time of cleaning be both a physical and emotional experience.

When your task is done make sure to appreciate the cleanliness, the openness, the release of stress and the sense of control. Make sure not to fill this new space – physical & emotional – will more “stuff”. Only allow items or thought that support positivity, accomplishment or a sense of order back in.

Give yourself the gift of a fresh start!

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Fabulous Friday – Being Professionally Fabulous!

Fabulous Friday – Being Professionally Fabulous!

Success in any part of your life not only depends on your preparation and hard work, but also on your attitude.  You have to truly want something and be able to see yourself achieving it for the best to happen.  You have to find it within yourself to set goals and make a consistent effort to bring them to fruition. This is just the beginning of the recipe for success, not just doing well but being truly, fabulously successful!

So what does this very practical advice have to do with being fabulous? The combination of the practical steps plus passion, a sense of humor and joie de vivre makes the difference between someone who is good at what they do and someone who is great at what they do.  It makes people talk about you and their experience working with you. It makes you stand out among your peers and become a role model to up and comers.

If you only equate being fabulous with the exterior – looks, fashion sense, the right toys – then you are missing the most important part of the equation.  Have you ever met someone who hits all of those marks and is just incredibly boring, self-centered, vapid or a hideous combination thereof? On the other hand there are those who are at the pinnacle of their professions in terms of knowledge and skill but who can put a room to sleep faster than it takes to get their power point presentation up and running. The hard work, preparation and sweat equity is not enough nor is just the exterior presentation – fabulousness is achieved at the point where all of these qualities meet.  At that point the true sign of fabulousness that shines through is the personal achievement and pure joy of someone who has reached their personal best. Others want to be around this person, work with them, learn from them and refer them. The positive attitude, sincere curiosity, warm concern for others and professional polish naturally draws others in.

The truly, sincerely, bone deep fabulous person is not only a leader but a teacher. Someone who is continually learning and at the same time mentoring others. Someone who always is setting new goals  to achieve new  personal heights while looking for opportunities to do good with the resources they have earned.

Being professionally fabulous elevates you to a place where  financial success is a by product of personal achievement. It may take you longer to reach some of your professional goals, and certainly the way you go about it will not be similar to those around you.  Sometimes holding on to your integrity, core beliefs and personal ethics while working hard in a competitive environment may be frustrating – but don’t give up! This is a marathon, not a sprint and staying true to your path will ultimately provide you the rewards you have worked so hard for. Being professionally fabulous is not a popularity contest – don’t be discouraged by others who are not supportive or don’t understand what you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes others are envious of the skills you have worked hard to achieve and the talents you may possess, sometimes others unwillingness to put in the same effort results in frustration as they see you achieve results. At the end of the day the only measure you need to consult is your own stated professional goals and personal wishes. Those who you meet along the way who are supportive, who are great professional allies, who see the same value in reaching their own personal best will become your core group.

Finally, once you have the substance down don’t forget the style! Now that you have the professional tools and personal goals you need to move forward take the time to address the package you will be delivering your skills in. Are you taking care of your health, do you have an exercise routine in place, are all of your basic grooming needs up to date? Don’t forget the value of polished shoes and clean nails! Do you have breath mints and a lint remover handy at all times? Are you dressing with purpose or throwing something on in the morning?  These are all basics that make a first impression and if you aren’t paying attention you may never get to share the skills you bring to the table with an attentive audience.

What hobbies and activities make you happy? What was the last book you read, movie you saw, museum you visited. You cannot be fabulous without being interesting, well rounded and curious. Unless you are interested in the world around you you will not be an interesting person to be with. Uninteresting people are definitely not fabulous!

How can you take your fashion sense up a notch? Are your clothes well taken care of, altered and  up to date? Do you look at other professionals you deal with and think about what kind of an impression they are making by how they are dressed?  Is their clothing adding or subtracting from their professionalism?  Look through magazines and online and note what appeals to you, what makes the statement that best matches your idea of what your personal and professional best would look like. Now use those as guidelines when cleaning out your own closet and purchasing new items. If this is not your forte, or an area that holds little interest for you, find a personal shopper, consultant or friend who can guide you through the process and save you time and effort. In the long run the return on your investment of time and money in this area will certainly be returned to you.

Some of these last items may seem elementary or perhaps even insulting – but often these are the things that others may be embarrassed to say to someone. They may at times even be the reasons that people with excellent skills are held back from being professionally fabulous. Take a minute to go through your basics, or find the most truthful person you know and ask them to give it to you straight. You may uncover something easily fixed and ultimately valuable.

Are you ready to be professionally fabulous? Do you have the attitude, determination and willingness to work hard to make it happen? Then go for it and know that nothing will be as satisfying as achieving your personal best!

 

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Musical Mondays – The Long & Winding Road….

Musical Mondays – The Long & Winding Road….

 

The long and winding road that leads to your door,

 Will never disappear, I’ve seen that road before

 It always leads me here, leads me to your door

 

It really is true, there is no place like home! 

 We have worked so hard together to create this la la land of home & family…it is so good to bask in the love!

 

 

 

 

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