Wednesday Wisdom: Shine From Within

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Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.

Today would have been Dr. Maya Angelou’s 90th birthday. She was a poet and an activist. She is celebrated for her wisdom and her insightful writing. But life wasn’t handed to her on a silver platter, and she worked hard to better herself — and in doing so, helped to better the world around her.

I’ve kept this photo saved on my desktop at work since 2014. My screen is messy, with icons scattered evenly across it. It looks alarming, but to me it’s organized. And right there on the top left I have a string of photos that I’ve refused to stash away in a folder. This image is one. Right there in plain sight and ready at a moment’s notice to click, expand, read, and motivate.

I’ll leave you with another favorite quote, words I’ve tried to live by even before I saw them written down. In essence, treat others kindly. Raise people up.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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Looking to the Stars

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Stephen Hawking

Photo Credit: David Parry/PA

Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.

A brilliant star left our universe today. Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76, but he leaves behind his wisdom and moments of humor. I can’t say I know much about this amazing man’s teachings or theories, but I’ve admired him for years.

This quote is a beautiful reminder to live life to its full potential. To add to it, in a 2010 interview with Diane Sawyer, Hawking said: “If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”

Let these wise words continue to inspire you.

Oscars 2018 Best Dressed

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The Oscars is always a fashion event to look forward to, with guests arriving to the red carpet in their most glamorous ensembles. And unlike events like the Grammys or the Met Gala, the stars aren’t over the top, yet they still find ways to insert a bit of their own character.

It’s also fun spotting trends. Metallics were a major theme of the night once again: Jennifer Lawrence in Dior, Sandra Bullock in Louis Vuitton, Lupita Nyong’o in custom Atelier Versace, Zoey Deutch in Elie Saab, Sally Hawkins in Armani Prive and so many more. This year, many of the “Black Panther” stars brought the spirit of Wakanda to the Dolby Theatre.

Ladies in red also made a splash, donning a particularly vibrant hue. This includes best supporting actress winner (and Ohio native!) Allison Janney wearing Reem Acra, Maya Rudolph, Meryl Streep in Christian Dior Haute Couture and Christine Lahti in Romona Keveza. (Fun fact: the red carpet is a patented shade of garnet red that’s unique to the Oscars!)

I absolutely love that Rita Moreno wore the same dress that she wore when she won best supporting actress for “West Side Story” during the 1962 Academy Awards. The gown, which was made in the Philippines, still looked vibrant, unique and glamorous, and the 86-year-old actress paired it with statement gloves but sported a new neckline.

Then there’s James Ivory. The 89-year-old “Call Me By Your Name” screenwriter took home the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, becoming the oldest Oscar recipient in history. He also won style points for his shirt created by artist Andrew Mania, which portrayed the face of actor Timothée Chalamet from the film’s final scene.

There are so many more notable moments, including Tiffany Haddish who wore a traditional Eritrean dress in tribute to her late father. But without further ado, here are my best dressed moments from the 90th Academy Awards. Who topped your list?

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Rita Moreno // Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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Sandra Bullock in Louis Vuitton // Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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Allison Janney in Reem Acra // Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Lupita Nyong’o in Atelier Versace // Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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James Ivory // Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

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Octavia Spencer // Steve Granitz/WireImage

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Jennifer Gardner // Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Gal Gadot in Givenchy Haute Couture // Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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Chadwick Boseman // Steve Granitz/WireImage

In Frame: Warby Parker Resort 2017

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The Warby Parker Resort 2017 collection is here, and it already has me dreaming of warmer days … And Clark Kent?

As someone who used to wear giant shades (which, in hindsight, made me look like an alien), it’s refreshing to see a streamlined and updated look. The Warby Parker Resort 2017 collection style is classic in its simplicity with a vintage flair, yet still feels modern.

When it comes to style, I’m a sucker for details — whether it’s the addition of a dainty pendant necklace to a simple outfit or bold embroidery that’s the star on its own. The Resort 2017 collection takes this a step further with hints of metal that are only visible from certain angles.

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Tate in Hazelnut Tortoise, Wren in Jet Black

Starting at $145, the collection features both eyeglasses and sunglasses in a range of shapes and hues. Jet Black with Rose Gold, Marbled Walnut with Gold, Hazelnut Tortoise Matte with Silver, Oak Barrel with Riesling, to name a few.

While I love a good tortoise frame when it comes to everyday eyewear (and this collection does tortoise right), I’m surprisingly drawn to the thick black frames of the Wren (also available in a gorgeous opal tortoise) and Archer (which is the reason I have Clark Kent on my mind).

For sunglasses, I typically like them to be as black as my year-round attire. Playing on the mix of modern and classic, my favorite styles in this collection are the Avery (perfect for men and women) and Cleo (which leans more toward a vintage, feminine flair).

The Warby Parker Resort 2017 collection officially launches today. Find it online and in-stores, and check out the full collection here! Which pair is your favorite?

All opinions are my own.
Photos provided by Warby Parker

All in a Sunset

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Nothing takes my breath away quite like a beautiful sunset. Whether I’m relaxing on vacation, stealing glances from my office window or stopping mid-jog to snap a picture, I can’t help but let the changing sky move me. This time, though, was a bit more profound.

On the surface, this is a gorgeous display of light just after the sun dropped behind the mountains in Palm Desert, California. But I have a confession about this evening. Just a couple hours before I was marveling at the sunset, I was complaining about the very same clouds. Tanning is often an important part of my vacations (I’m from the Midwest, can you blame me?!), and the clouds were blocking my rays.

Later, as I was staring in awe at shifting colors that faded from fiery orange to neon pink to soft purple, something hit me. I tried to hide the embarrassing squeak that rises in my voice whenever I get emotional as I turned to my dad: “You know I was complaining earlier,” I admitted, “but without these clouds, the sunset wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful.”

To me, it was a learning moment — and just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. I was moved by the beauty of nature and reminded why we should always aim for grace and humility.

Be grateful for the little things, recognize your blessings.

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Met Gala 2017: Best Dressed

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At the heart of the Met Gala is this year’s Costume Institute exhibition, “Rei Kawakubo / Comme Des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.” The display of avant-garde styles and unusual silhouettes shaped the evening, which paid tribute to Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, founder and creative director of Comme des Garçons.

To state it best, for Kawakubo, “the whole point of clothes is to challenge the established notions of beauty,” as The Guardian reports.

And as the New York Times further points out, “ … she refuses to accept any of the rules that govern normal clothing design: that clothes need to be flattering, for example, or that they need to have armholes. Instead, she is interested in challenging our ideas about what defines beauty, identity and gender.”

For reference, scroll down to see Tracee Ellis Ross actually wearing Comme des Garçons. (Rihanna and a few others were, too). Is it fashion I’d wear? Probably not. But I can respect the style for its artfulness and the boundaries it’s pushing. Like the New York Times says, it is, perhaps, not dressing to be beautiful or sexy and not necessarily to accentuate your body type or gender.

Katie Holmes looked grand and elegant in Zac Posen, but it’s not the soft, billowing gown you first expect. On closer inspection, it’s structured and almost rigid. It’s fashion that takes what you expect and alters it slightly, and that, to me, is key to last night’s “avant-garde” theme.

It might be the Costume Institute’s gala, but I never fully enjoy the over-the-top costumes some guests wear. This year, though, I can see more and more that I appreciate the stars who take black-tie glamour one step further, altering their look slightly with an interpretation of the evening’s theme.

The 150-foot red (err, blue) carpet and grand staircase lend themselves to a lineup of gorgeous trains. There were feathers galore and leggy slits Angelina Jolie-style. Black-and-white-and-silver was a clear favorite, as seen on Cara Delevingne in a Chanel pantsuit, as well as Chrissy Teigen and Halle Berry, who added a sheer element to the monochromatic trend. Janelle Monae went extra bold in her go-to uniform of black and white.

What’s one look I can’t get over? Blake Lively’s golden Versace dress that bursts into a mermaid-blue feathered train. (Nicki Minaj was a fan of her look, too.)

Here are my 10 Best Dressed ladies from the 2017 Met Gala. Who topped your list?

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Blake Lively, wearing Versace, with husband Ryan Reynolds

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Reese Witherspoon wearing Mugler

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Cara Delevingne wearing Chanel

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Katie Holmes wearing Zac Posen

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Diane Kruger wearing Prada

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Zendaya wearing Dolce and Gabbana, via Getty Images

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Hailey Baldwin wearing Carolina Herrera

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Fei Fei Sun in Alberta Ferretti Limited Edition, via Vogue.com

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Stella Maxwell in H&M, via Vogue.com

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Tracee Ellis Ross wearing Comme des Garçons

Photos by Benjamin Norman for The New York Times unless otherwise noted.

Black & Gold

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Happy Paris Fashion Week, guys!

I wanted to do something special to embrace a city that means so, so much to me. And of course, the first thing I thought of when I tried to imagine a Parisian outfit was … black!

This Helmut Lang blazer instantly came to mind, because the boxy shape provides an effortless style you’d see on someone like Emmanuelle Alt, editor-in-cheif of Vogue Paris. I absolutely love pairing my suede over-the-knee boots with leather-coated leggings, because the mixture of black textures makes each layer of this outfit pop.

Pretty much any top could work under a blazer like this (I almost went with a flowy charcoal tank to keep it monochromatic), but I opted for a little dazzle. We’re talking about Paris, after all! This gold pleated top from Zara was mega on sale, so I didn’t even feel bad about adding it to my already-overflowing bag, and I’m glad I did. Black and gold is possibly one of the greatest color combinations of all time, whether you’re inspired by rock-star style or classic glamour.

So, who wants to go with me to Paris? Wanderlust is kicking in!

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Blazer: Helmut Lang | Top: Zara (still on sale!) | Leggings: Express (similar here) | Boots: Charles David via Nordstrom | Bag: Marc Jacobs | Rings: Aldo (similar on sale)

Photos by Michael Ciuni

 

Oscars 2017 Best Dressed

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It’s always fun to take a break from Fashion Week coverage to tune in to the Oscars to see runway looks and couture gowns in action. Last night, I turned my attention to the red carpet arrivals at the 89th Academy Awards and waited for the stream of sleek tuxes and dazzling dresses.

White was a popular choice (Naomie Harris, Karlie Kloss, Sofia Carson, Chrissy Teigen to name a few), even for the men (David Oyelowo, Dev Patel). The carpet arrivals shined with Oscar-worthy gold (Emma Stone, Jessica Biel) and, as always, pastel hues (Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer). The reds were redder and brighter than the carpet they were floating above (Viola Davis, Ruth Negga). I was excited to see a range of long-sleeve choices, too!

As for the men, perhaps my favorite was best supporting actor winner Mahershala Ali, who wore Ermenegildo Zegna in all black. I appreciated Pharrell Williams’ bold Chanel look, and if you’re on the fence about Ryan Gosling’s ruffled shirt, I’ll clear the air for you and say he definitely pulled it off (but you still can’t beat the classics).

And the winner is…

Hailee Steinfeld in an absolutely fairy-like Ralph and Russo gown (it’s even better in the back!) and Taraji P. Henson in a sultry, deep blue velvet Alberta Ferretti dress. Because my top three were so close, shout out to Olivia Culpo, who shimmied and twirled for the cameras to show off the flapper-style fringe on her silver Marchesa.

Here is a round up of my Oscars 2017 best dressed. Who made your list?

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Hailee Steinfeld in Ralph and Russo // 89th Academy Awards

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Taraji P. Henson in Alberta Ferretti // 89th Academy Awards

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Olivia Culpo in Marchesa // 89th Academy Awards

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Chrissy Teigen in Zuhair Murad // 89th Academy Awards

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Janelle Monae in Elie Saab // 89th Academy Awards

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Viola Davis in Armani Prive // 89th Academy Awards

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Octavia Spencer in Marchesa // 89th Academy Awards

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Emma Stone in Givenchy Haute Couture // 89th Academy Awards

Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images 

Wear the Cape

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Let’s face it, the weather here in the Midwest is crazy (it’s 70 today but might snow tomorrow, soak that in). Stocking your wardrobe with layers is key, and I’ve discovered that a cape is an easy alternative to figuring out which jacket fits best.

I never would’ve thought to seek out a cape while shopping, but it was included in my first Trunk Club order and I fell in love. You can throw it over whatever outfit you’ve already picked out for the day, and the black-and-camel color combo makes it easy to match a range of outfits. And the most important part? It feels as cozy as wearing a blanket!

I chose to wrap it over a simple black top, leather-coated leggings and my over-the-knee boots. But the cape works with jeans and dresses, casual clothes and fancier attire. I like to think of it as model-off-duty, because it’s so easy and versatile.

Shop the look below. Want to learn more about Trunk Club or sign up? Click here! A stylist will ask you questions about your style, hand-select items for your trunk, and then you have the convenience of trying it all on at home. (And no, this isn’t even a sponsored post haha!)

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Capelet: Nordstrom | Leggings: Express (similar on sale) | Boots: Charles David via Nordstrom | Rings: Aldo (similar on sale)

Photos by Michael Ciuni

Wednesday Wisdom: Like a Sunflower

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“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.” —Walt Whitman

Whenever I think of sunflowers, this quote comes to mind. Yes, I love how the cheery blooms brighten up a room. But there’s something so magical and awe-inspiring about seeing them in a field, angled in unison with one common goal: grow, live, thrive.

Like this quote suggests, sunflowers face the rising sun, soaking in as much light and energy as possible. (Sunflower in French is tournesol, derived from to turn/tourner and sun/soleil!) And like flowers, we also have to let our shadows — our burdens, fears, anxieties — fall behind us from time to time in order to thrive.

I’ve seen it written like this and credited to Whitman, and I’ve also seen a version said to be a Maori proverb. Either way, it’s a beautiful quote that reminds me to be strong, take challenges head on, strive toward optimism and focus on the light instead of the sometimes-persistent shadows of everyday life.

Photo taken at Maria’s Field of Hope in Avon, Ohio, by Michael Ciuni