Watch This Style: Rihanna’s Top 10 Music Videos & Performances in Honor of her Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show Announcement!



Rihanna is a powerhouse! Not only is the beauty & fashion mogul dominating multiple industries, entertainment included, but the Barbadian beauty recently announced that she will headline the Super Bowl LVII performance on February 12th 2023!

In honor of this amazing comeback news—it has been 6 years since her last smash album Anti—let’s all drift down the rabbit hole of the singer’s most stylish music videos & live performances for her hit songs:

“Umbrella” featuring Jay-Z
“Diamonds”
“We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris
“S. O. S.”
“This is What You Came For” with Calvin Harris
“Love on the Brain” at the Billboard Awards
“Don’t Stop the Music”
“Shut Up and Drive” on The Late Show with David Letterman
“Only Girl (in the World)”
“Stay” featuring Mikky Ekko

What’s your favorite Rihanna song? What medley do you hope to hear at her highly anticipated halftime show? Are you excited for new music from Rihanna? For more stylish posts, check out: a gallery of the costumes from Don’t Worry Darling, the trailer for Emily in Paris season 3, & your next add-to-cart tweed flats! Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: A Look at the Costumes of Don’t Worry Darling!


There aren’t many movies these days I want to see in the theater. It must be an epic, cinematic experience to get me to go—otherwise, I’m perfectly content streaming from home in the comfort of my own slippers. However, when the early images of Olivia Wilde’s sophomore directorial effort emerged for Don’t Worry Darling, I was intrigued, having been enamored with Florence Pugh’s maturity as Amy in Little Women, global pop star Harry Styles as the leading man, & the 1950s time period!

This weekend, my husband & I saw a matinee showing if the film & I was blown away by the costume design from thrice Academy Award-nominated Arianne Phillips, for her work in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Walk the Line, & W. E. Take a look at the gallery below for all the fashionable sneak peeks, but be careful: SPOILERS ahead!

Florence & Olivia aren’t the only stylish stars of the film, as there’s much glamour & vintage elegance on Harry, Chris Pine, & Gemma Chan as well. Watch the trailer below, along with other behind-the-scenes videos & interviews about the making of the stylish film:

I know I’m already thinking about my fit & flare dresses & statement necklaces dye to the film’s stylish inspiration! Are you excited to see Don’t Worry Darling? Are you a fan of 1950s fashion? For more stylish posts, check out: the season 3 trailer for Emily in Paris, the best fashion moments from Partner Track, & the cutest tweed ballet flats! Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: The First Trailer for Season 3 of Emily in Paris!


Just days ago, the first images of Lily Collins, Ashley Park, & more from Emily in Paris’ highly-anticipated third season we’re released.

Now we have a trailer, with a tongue-and-cheek tough decision that Emily Cooper faces. We think it’s about her love triangle or sudden career crisis, but there’s more to it as Emily’s style is such an integral part of her identity. Watch the trailer below:

Additionally, what audiences thought would be an early 2023 release of this third foray into Netflix’s fashionable fish out of water story is corrected as the season will be available to stream on December 21st! Just in time for awards season & Lily to rock the most gorgeous frocks on a press tour to promote the latest episodes in the series.

Are you excited about Emily in Paris’ third season? Who is your favorite character? Do you love Emily’s style? What about Mindy’s wardrobe? For more stylish posts, check out: Olivia Wilde’s white tee & black wide leg pants in NYC, a fabulous fall blouse from Kohl’s, the fashion from Partner Track, & the perfect fall earrings at Target! Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: The First Images of Season 3 of Emily in Paris!


I don’t know about you, but I consume television partially for the fashion, which is why I love Emily in Paris, starring the adorable Lily Collins! The Netflix star recently posted the juiciest & most fashionable first glance images of the long-awaited third season. Obviously, Emily’s style game is on pointe & she’s really leaning into those bangs!

While this latest season won’t drop until likely early 2023, I can’t wait to see how the ex-patriate fish out of water story continues with love triangles, major laughs, bonding friendships, & plenty of social media talk, & more!


Who is your favorite character on the show? Are you team Gabriel or team Alfie? What do you think will happen in season 3? For more stylish posts, check out: fall blouse options by LC Lauren Conrad, tweed ballet flats for under $20, & all the best looks on Arden Cho in Partner Track! Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: Meet Arden Cho (as Ingrid Yun) on Netflix’s Partner Track!


Just when I was missing the fun, glamour, & friendships on shows like Younger & Emily in Paris (which will be returning for a 3rd season), Partner Track enters my life. The dramedy stars Arden Cho as the fabulous Ingrid Yun, a New York City-based mergers & acquisitions lawyer about the make partner. While the show is easy, carefree viewing with plenty of NYC-snark & melodrama, the show serves up some major style for Ingrid as the lead character.

She’s drawn to pastels & clean lines, opting rarely for dark or bold hues, constantly proving the fashionable balance between feminine & strong as she shuts down her male counterparts with her intelligence & saunters away in an ethereal ball gown.

Take a look at the gallery below for a look at Ingrid’s style throughout the first season, including some random online images when other, better ones could not be found:

Check out the trailer for season 1 to see these looks, along with the chic supporting cast, in action:

Have you watched Partner Track? What do you think of Ingrid’s style? Are you excited about a (hopefully) second season? For more stylish posts, check out: the perfect dressy fall earring, a cozy & stylish tunic for work & loungewear, the official trailer for Blonde starring Ana de Armas, & Hannah Waddingham’s wardrobe best as Rebecca Welton on Ted Lasso! Happy Styling!

08/24/2022 Darling of the Day: Selena Gomez as Mabel Mora in the Season 2 Finale of Only Murders in the Building!


We finally know who killed Bunny Folger! Don’t worry—no major spoilers areas. Just some fashion talk!

As many of you may have already seen, the epic season 2 finale of Only Murders in the Building is now available on Hulu, resolving & shocking audiences with hints as to what’s to come for the already highly anticipated third season!

During the episode, Mabel Mora, played spectacularly by Selena Gomez, attends a Broadway production in a stunning one-shoulder emerald satin gown with a high slit.

Images for a full view of the dress are not yet available online, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take inspiration from Mabel’s vintage chic style & the wondrous costume designing of Emmy nominee Dana Covarrubias.

While we all don’t have luxurious lifestyles or red carpet events to attend, keeping that special gown or evening look in the back of your closet is always a good idea—just in case. Unsure of who actually designed Mabel’s show-stopping gown, I surfed the web to offer up these high-end versions, even though Mabel’s right arm is visibly out:

SHOP: Stephany dress with belt in olive green @Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop ($271.00, available in sizes XS-6XL) & Pryce off-the-shoulder column dress in dark green @Anthropology ($495.00, available in sizes 0-16).

For the budget-conscious Style Darling who’s loving Mabel’s jewel-tone choice, here are some more affordable options to capture the ease & drama of the look:

SHOP: For the Night satin one-shoulder dress in dark teal @Lulu’s ($98.00, available in sizes XS-XL), Simply Beautiful one-shoulder cut-out maxi dress in dark green @Lulu’s ($72.00, available in sizes XS-XL), Rhiannon one-shoulder satin long dress in hunter @Windsor ($59.90, available in sizes XS-XL), & KOH KOH long one-shoulder maxi dress in green @Amazon ($49.95, available in sizes S-5XL).

What do you think of the second season of Only Murders in the Building? Did you watch the finale yet? What are your season 3 predictions? For more stylish posts about Selena Gomez, check out: her Alexander McQueen look for her Rare Beauty launch, the season 4 trailer for Selena + Chef, & her shimmering LaPointe look in Italy! Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: 10 Pop Star Glam Music Videos by Dua Lipa for Her 27th Birthday!


Just because summer is almost over, that doesn’t mean the fun has to end. This summer’s best empowering dance anthems are still hot, so grab that playlist & get moving! Particularly, one pop artist whose star meter keeps rising is three-time Grammy winner Dua Lipa, who celebrates her 27th birthday today.

Her past & present smash hits, including “Sweetest Pie” with Megan Thee Stallion, “Levitating” featuring Da Baby (my favorite!), “New Rules, “Don’t Start Now,” & “Break My Heart,” are just some of the British singer’s best jams that prove her vocal range, lyrical versatility, musical relevance, & staying power as a compelling & feel-good pop artist.

Additionally, the music videos for these songs, & more, recall the TRL days of over-the-top choreography, fashionably playful costumes, & futuristic plot twists, making them major style inspiration sources from the club girl inside us all dying to shake things up.

So…what’s your favorite Dua Lipa song & video? Turn up the volume & watch the 10 stylish music videos below to get your week started!

“Sweetest Pie” by Megan Thee Stallion & Dua Lipa

“New Rules” by Dua Lipa

“Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa

“Break My Heart” by Dua Lipa

“Love Again” by Dua Lipa

“We’re Good” by Dua Lipa

“Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” by Dua Lipa

“Potion” by Calvin Harris featuring Dua Lipa

“IDGAF” by Dua Lipa

“Levitating” by Dua Lipa featuring Da Baby

What song do you have stuck in your head by Dua Lipa? Which look in any of the videos is your favorite? For more celebrity posts, check out: a fashion flashback with Kacey Musgraves, Jennifer Lawrence’s best beauty looks, Serena Williams’ Vogue cover, & Adele’s gorgeous cover shoot for ELLE’s September issue! Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: Selena Gomez Goes to Malibu for HBO Max’s Selena + Chef’s Season 4!


It won’t be long before actress (& Emmy-nominated producer), Grammy-nominated singer, & Rare Beauty entrepreneur Selena Gomez will be dominating 2 streaming services with Only Murders in the Building continuing its second season on Hulu, as well as the return of Selena + Chef on HBO Max for a 4th season, boasting lots of fun & food love already, at least based on the trailer below. The celebrity chef-in-progress takes her gaggle of gal pals to an already screen-seasoned Malibu beach house, where both Hannah Montana & Big Little Lies were filmed. Famous chefs / mentors set to appear with Selena on the show include familiar faces to the kitchen, such as Adrienne Cheatham, Devonn Francis, Gordon Ramsay, Kristen Kish, Ludo Lefebvre, Matty Matheson, Nick DiGiovanni, Paola Velez, Priya Krishna, & Rachael Ray!

There are 2 very remarkable accomplishments for Selena + Chef:

1. The show launched in August 2020 for 10 seasons that were meant to connect audiences during a time of disconnection; streaming, food, & entertainment served as society’s escape from the pandemic. As a result, newcomers to the kitchen identified with Selena’s unfamiliarity with certain foods, skills, & utensils. Whether you were watching from the comfort of your couch or taking notes to recreate the dish yourself, everyone bonded as Selena learned to cook virtually with a variety of celebrity chefs.

2. As these celebrity chefs share their love of food & culture, a range of charities found a platform for awareness & “the series has raised $400,000” in donations to “26 nonprofit organizations,” according to People. As Selena cooks up some laughs & indulges in the spices & sweets, she’s shining a much-deserved spotlight on underprivileged communities, mental health issues, liked-minded foodies, & more!

Lastly, I’m most excited about 2 things this season: 1. Watching more of Selena’s kitchenware line Our Place x Selena, which includes 2 innovative, all-purpose items: a pan for always & a pot for always in 11 different colors! Now, that’s style! 2. What Selena wears in the kitchen!

Have you been watching Selena + Chef? Have you tried any of the recipes featured on the show? Are you excited about the 4th season in Malibu that premieres on August 18th? Who is your favorite celebrity chef? For more stylish posts, check out: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘s Rachel Brosnahan in a bold Loewe outfit, fancy flowered navy flats from Amazon, & sophisticated & stackable jewelry organization from Target! Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: The Official Trailer for Ana de Armas Starring in Blonde as Marilyn Monroe!


Everyone is talking about Blonde, the new Netflix portrayal of the one & only, Marilyn Monroe, played by Cuban superstar Ana de Armas the full, official trailer was finally released after a teaser trailer & slew of breathtaking images that truly bring Monroe to life on screen in a way that’s always been attempted by previous interpretations of the bombshell’s life, career, & relationships.

The Andrew Dominik-directed adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ fictional biography of Monroe’s inner life is rated NC-17 & will be available to stream on September 28th.

Also in the film, Bobby Cannavale stars as Joe DiMaggio, Adrien Brody as Arthur Miller, & Garrett Dillahunt as President John F. Kennedy. Check out all of the below images to see more of what’s to come in this awards-magnet film:

Are you excited for the film? Are you familiar with Monroe’s filmography or Ana’s recent films? What do think about Ana’s transformation? For more stylish posts, check out: Hannah Waddingham’s Ted Lasso style as Rebecca Welton, blue & resin jewelry picks from LOFT, & a flashback of Taylor Schilling’s red carpet style! Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca Welton on Ted Lasso is Fashion Gold (for Her 48th Birthday)!


I can’t wait for the return of Ted Lasso! I didn’t expect to enjoy the show at all, but I knew it earned rave reviews & loads of awards over the last 2ish years; however, aside from the mega-talented cast & heartwarming core to all the show’s hilarity, Emmy-winner Hannah Waddingham, who plays the staggeringly chic Rebecca Welton, puts all other fashionable characters of television to shame!

Rebecca is a boss. She dresses like a corporate princess with an unlimited budget. Her penchant for silk blouses, bodycon dresses, feminine meets masculine inspiration, & fabulous accessories deserve a show of their own! Unfortunately, the internet is lacking when it comes to quality images of Rebecca’s wardrobe; however, there are gifs galore! Here us just a taste of Rebecca’s style:

Not to mention, as Rebecca rules Ted Lasso, Hannah Waddingham arrives on every red carpet dominating like the queen she is. The accomplished actress & finger turns 48 today, so here’s a gallery of her best red carpet moments:

Do you like Hannah & Rebecca’s style? Are you a Ted Lasso fan? What would you like to see Rebecca wear next season? For more stylish posts, check out: a flashback to Sandra Bullock’s beauty looks, Kate Beckinsale’s earrings obsession, & Diane Kruger’s best non-gown ensembles! Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: All the Pink & Neon Looks (So Far) Margot Robbie & Ryan Gosling Wear Filming Greta Gerwig’s Barbie Movie!


It’s everywhere & yet so far away still! Greta Gerwig‘s live-action Barbie film is currently in production & the internet is ablaze with images & commentary on the ultra neon on-screen duo of Barbie & Ken, played respectively by two-time Academy Award-nominees Margot Robbie & Ryan Gosling. One may ask, could the movie get any blonder? However, you’re going to get more than meets the blinded-by-neon eye from this movie, especially with Gerwig at the helm… which is slated for a July 2023 release. I will be glued to the web with updates over the course of the next year, waiting with bated breath for the first major motion picture about the ultimate Style Darling herself: Barbie.

In the mean time, throw on some shades, play that 90s Aqua song, & scroll through the slideshow & gallery below for all that’s been photographed so far of the Hollywood icons portraying iconic characters:

Which look is your favorite from filming so far? Is it the classic denim Ken or Barbie in her convertible? The Western garb? The duo rollerskating in a kaleidoscope of neon? Are you excited to see the film next year? For more stylish posts, check out: the red carpet looks from the 2022 Daytime Emmys & BET Awards, Selena Gomez’s silver Michael Kors gown at the Only Murders in the Building season 2 premiere, & Natalie Portman & Tessa Thompson at the Thor: Love & Thunder premiere. Happy Styling!

Red Carpet Review: Selena Gomez Sparkles in Michael Kors at the Season 2 Premiere of Only Murders in the Building!


If you haven’t watched season 1 of Only Murders in the Building on Hulu, stop reading & go do it–all 10 episodes!

However, if you’re excited for season 2 to drop TODAY, just like I am, you’ll be extra psyched to see the show’s star, Selena Gomez, in all of her silver sparkly glory at the season 2 premiere in Los Angeles yesterday. With a cut-out & super high slit gown by Michael Kors, plus a beachy/glam ponytail, shimmering hoop earrings by Effy Jewelry (shop similar here), & makeup, no doubt, from her Rare Beauty collection, this is Selena’s best red carpet look EVER, IMO. She’s poised, polished, & perfectly glistening with such a modern take on a classic Hollywood aesthetic. The range that she displays on the red carpet, when performing on stage, & on the show as the sarcastic Mable Mora is admirable & evocative, cementing her status as a major player in the entertainment industry who is only just getting started (with over 100 acting credits to her name & 9 albums to her name)!

Have a look at Selena’s stunning red carpet appearance, which is just the beginning of what will be a fashionable press tour for the show & her upcoming Rare Beauty launches:

To catch up on what happened last season, watch the season 1 trailer (not a recap!) below:

If you haven’t already watched it on repeat, watch the hi-jinx about to ensue on the residents (& outcasts) of the Arconia building:

I can’t wait to laugh, cry, & wonder about how this new season will unfold, especially with celebrity guest stars, such as comedian Amy Schumer and Selena’s good friend / supermodel Cara Delevingne joining in on the fun.

What do you think of Selena’s red carpet look? Are you excited to follow the hapless, podcasting trio into their next adventure? For more stylish, celebrity posts, check out: Kristen Bell’s monochromatic neon suit, the red carpet from the BET Awards, & what Natalie Portman & Tessa Thompson wore to the Thor: Love & Thunder premiere! Happy Styling!

Silver Screen Style: Jennifer Lopez’s Netflix Documentary Streams Now!


The time has finally come for Jennifer Lopez‘s highly anticipated documentary Halftime to begin streaming on Netflix! While I haven’t watched it yet, it’s already added to My List & I can’t wait to see what the multi-hyphenate powerhouse reveals about her famed performance at Super Bowl LIV halftime with Shakira in 2020–the same year cinephiles were championing for Lopez to earn her first Academy Award nomination for her role as Ramona in Hustlers. Halftime has already premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, earning praise for its intimate portrayal of the actress-singer’s vulnerability regarding the trials of both success and failure in the public eye for her professional accomplishments and personal relationships.

If you haven’t checked the film yet & you’re still on the fence, play the trailer below to catch a behind-the-scenes glance:

Various media outlets have featured Lopez discussing the inspiration behind the documentary, along with the valuable social commentary about Latinx representation in the media and pay inequality.

Also, to refresh your memory and for the sake of entertainment, check out Jennifer Lopez & Shakira igniting the stage with their famously dynamic & fierce partnership, albeit forced by the NFL.

Have you seen Halftime yet? What did you think of the highly criticized halftime performance? Which celebrity documentaries are on your streaming queue? For more posts about the Bronx native, check out: Jennifer Lopez in Giambattista Valli, Jennifer Lopez’s blazer inspiration, Jennifer Lopez in a mustard coat, & Jennifer Lopez’s 2015 American Idol performance of “Feel the Light.” Happy Styling!

Jennifer Lopez is the Prettiest in the Prettiest Pink Poof Dress!


Jennifer Lopez can’t do just one thing & I’m so glad for it. For her newest film, Second Act, she not only stars in & produced it, but also sings the power anthem “Limitless” (penned by Sia). She also directed the yet-to-be released music video (also starring her daughter Emme) & has taken the fashion world by storm once again at the New York City premiere of the film. She wore a breathtaking pink Giambattista Valli high low tulle gown (from the brand’s Fall 2018 Couture runway collection) with a train that rivals anyone else in gown train history (Priyanka Chopra… Princess Diana…) styled with silver accessories including a Judith Leiber clutch & Jimmy Choo platforms, as well as jewelry by Lorraine Schwartz. The play on volume & length in such a bold statement color only makes the dress more amazing to gawk at.

The ethereal design floated down the Fall 2018 runway & has now made history. Perhaps all those sparkly naked dresses are out & voluminous tulle dresses are in?

What do you think of J.Lo’s big pink dress? Is it too big? Not big enough? For more celebrity-inspired posts, click here, here, here, & here. Happy Styling!

Cover Craze: Taraji P. Henson is Boss for InStyle’s January Issue!


Actress Taraji P. Henson is making waves not just in front of the camera as Cookie Lyon in Empire, but also on the big screen (of course, she did this in Hidden Figures too) with her new film out next year, What Men Want–a remake of 2000’s What Women Want starring Mel Gibson  & Helen Hunt). She’s not just the star of the comedy, but also serves as executive producer for the film. For In Style magazine’s January issue, Taraji also discusses in the article (read here) about being a single mom & her 20-plus year career & her connection to her fans, both nationally & internationally.

For the playful/Network-inspired photo shoot, Taraji plays with retro menswear pieces, including Michael Kors Collection (shop sweater here), Zara, Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Fendi (shop suit here), Bottega Veneta, Pomellato (shop bracelet here), Hermes, Tibi (shop boots here), Missoni, Rochas, Valentino (shop shoes here), & more!

For more magazine-inspired posts, click here, here, here, & here! Happy Styling!

SHOP NOW! Project Runway’s New Collection for JCPenney!


Tonight marks the sixteenth season premiere of Lifetime’s Project Runway, the Emmy-winning series that showcases up-and-coming fashion designers who are challenged by time crunches & unconventional materials to create beautiful art. I’ve been watching the show since the very beginning, enthralled by the creative process & style inspiration. In celebration of the show’s newest season, JCPenney has debuted a new Project Runway Collection inspired by season 15 winner, Erin Robertson. The line features a fun & playful mix of separates & dresses in plaid scuba, yellow lace, & classic black lace to be mixed with street style favorites & elegant must-haves. The affordable & fashionable collection ranges in sizes XS-XXL & is priced between $24.99 (when on sale) – $44. Here are just a few of my top picks & I can’t wait to shop these pieces in stores, checking out their fit & the many ways to wear them with my current wardrobe staples.

SHOP: top, top, top, & top.

SHOP: top, skirt, & skirt.

If you haven’t already seen what’s to come on the newest season of Project Runway, check out the trailer below to get a first glance at the runway fashions & all the behind-the-runway drama!

Are you a fan of Project Runway? Are you excited about the newest season premiere? What fall trends are you loving? Where are you shopping for the newest fashions? Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: Zac Posen’s ‘House of Z’ Documentary Trailer!


Summer is a great time for fashion, especially when it comes to scoping out what our favorite celebrities are wearing in their street style on vacation & for blockbuster movie premieres on the red carpet. It’s August & we’re basking in the post-Met Gala glow of the finest in fashion, preparing for Fashion Week in September, all for the harried & sparkly zen that is keeping up with awards season. One name among all the frenzy that is constantly impressing in the world of fashion is designer Zac Posen.

In the newest trailer for the fashion documentary House of Z, fashion lovers catch a glimpse of Posen’s career triumphs, devastating struggles, & return to fame. There’s nothing I love more than a fashion doc, which is why I’m super excited to learn more about Posen’s creative process & journey. The Project Runway judge / creative director of Brooks Brothers is an unstoppable force whose story teaches viewers that if you have a dream, you must go on & continue creating.

In the video below during an interview with BUILD Series, Posen discusses the documentary’s development, his familial strain, his favorite red carpet moments, & how the film served as therapy when revisiting his past troubles in the industry.

Zac Posen’s impact on the red carpet continues to make waves, especially on celebrities like Heidi Klum, Claire Danes, Reese Witherspoon, Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow, January Jones, Eva Longoria, Lena Dunham, Amanda Seyfried, & Sofia Vergara

House of Z premieres on Vogue.com on September 6th. I know I’ll be watching! What is your favorite Zac Posen red carpet moment? Are you going to watch the fashion documentary? How do you express your creativity? Happy Styling!

Cover Craze: Selena Gomez for Vogue’s April Issue!


Selena Gomez is a force to be reckoned with & her latest appearance on American Vogue (the first time she’s appeared on the revered fashion magazine’s cover) is just another example of how the multitalented star is truly herself & a superstar at the same time. During her interview, she discusses everything from mental health & therapy, growing up in the spotlight, why she’s ghosting on Instagram, how she’s keeping mum on her new relationship with The Weeknd, & what’s next for her both personally & professionally. 

Not only does the 24-year-old stun on stage & the big screen, but the Vogue shoot is fraught with sexy spring & summer style, as she wears designers like Balenciaga, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Dolce & Gabbana, to name a few.

Which magazines are your favorite for all the latest celebrity & fashion news? Which stars do you love to see on covers? Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: The Most Stylish Films of Awards Season & 2017!


There’s so much holiday talk in the air, but it’s also another season! All the best & most highly-anticipated films are about to hit theaters for awards season, which means that some of today’s most in-demand actresses are making jaw-dropping red carpet appearances, speaking at press events, & doing the talk show rounds, inspiring viewers with their class, intelligence, talent, & style. Aside from the excitement of seeing who is wearing what, the fashion in these films is definitely worth talking about. I was recently talking to some writer friends about how I haven’t been very enthusiastic about movies lately, especially since there’s so much amazing television on these days, but my mind is changed. I’m gushing over the visual candy that is La La Land, the retro elegance in Rules Don’t Apply & Jackie, as well as the high fashion stakes set in Miss Sloane & Nocturnal Animals (Directed by acclaimed designer Tom Ford).

The variety of inspiration comes from period pieces, high fashion cinema, & futuristic sci-fi vibes, which means that anything is possible when it comes to not only escaping into the big screen, but also into your wardrobe’s potential. After tallying up the riveting trailers I’ve been seeing on television lately & replaying some favorites on YouTube, here are just 11 of the best, starring the stylish likes of Marion Cotillard, Emma Watson, Hailee Steinfeld, Scarlett JohanssonTaraji P. HensonOctavia SpencerJanelle Monae, Natalie Portman, Jessica Biel, Haley Bennett, Emma Stone, Michelle Williams, Jessica Chastain, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, & Lily Collins.

20th Century Women, release date:December 25th 2016. 

Allied, release date: November 23rd 2016.

Beauty and the Beast, release date: March 17th 2017.

The Edge of Seventeen, release date: November 18th 2016.

the-edge-of-seventeen

Fences, release date:December 25th 2016.

Ghost in the Shell, release date: March 31st 2017.

Hidden Figures, release date: January 6th 2016.

Jackie, release date: December 2nd 2016.

A Kind of Murder, release date: December 16th 2016.

La La Land, release date: December 16th 2016.

Manchester By the Sea, release date: November 18th 2016.

Miss Sloane, release date: November 25th 2016.

Nocturnal Animals, release date: December 9th 2016.

Passengers, release date: December 21st 2016.

Rules Don’t Apply, release date: November 23rd 2016.

The Zookeeper’s Wife, release date: March 21st 2017.

Which films are you most excited to see? Happy Styling!

 

The Little Black Dress Love of My Life: An Ode to a Car Named Peppy


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One constant in my adult life that has meant more to me than I expected is my car, Peppy. She’s the ultimate little black dress of a car: reliable, classic, and a bit sparkly. She’s the second car that I have called my own, but really, she’s the first that was solely mine and my financial responsibility, a dependent of sorts. I took out my first loan for this car, paid it off, and now nine years and about 67,000 miles later, I’m moving on to newer and superior wheels. In this car, I ventured from home to work to school to boyfriend to new boyfriend to new home to job to second job to graduate school to newer boyfriend to newest boyfriend and back (with a few more stops in between too). Along the way, I took for granted that Peppy, a glossy black 2000 Nissan Altima GLE, was an undeniably important presence, another character if you will, in my story, much like New York City is the fifth gal at Carrie Bradshaw’s luncheon with Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda. As expected for any well-mannered Style Darling, Peppy is luxuriously accessorized with a leather interior, sunroof, and seats that hug both driver and passengers upon sitting—my kind of gorgeous and accommodating ride, that’s for sure.

Getting in the driver’s seat (figuring out what I want) and taking the wheel (figuring out how to get what I want) has been a challenge to overcome (because of family, relationships, money, health, whatever), especially when the road ahead is always changing (because you don’t always end up with what you want, even when you’re trying your effing hardest). With that on-the-road-ish metaphor in tow, I’m drawn to the fact that Peppy has been the means to getting to wherever I want to go, both literally and figuratively. In doing so, the exploration of ownership and control have been difficult themes in my writing, especially over the last few years living on my own and balancing everything that comes with being an adult.

Looking back, during my childhood and teenaged years, driving was the last thing on my mind. I had friends, Barbie dolls, boys, fashion, and writing swarming through my brain like that Pokémon nonsense is flooding the nation right now. Once in elementary school, a teacher assigned our class to write a few paragraphs about something we would want to do when we turned eighteen—an age that felt like light-years away, especially as I fidgeted in a training bra. The oddball dreamer in me immediately wrote about travelling at eighteen and all the possibilities of life experience that come with that. I don’t mean travel in the commuter sense, but travel as in actually being in places where food, fashion, music, art, and people were stories in motion waiting to inspire me. To my surprise, most of my classmates wanted more than anything to get a car and drive it, a thought that never occurred to me. Not once. Some kids were seeking independence from their parents, some wanted to get the heck off Long Island, and others boasted about rocking around town in “some sick wheels.” Of course, growing up in the suburbs meant that obtaining transportation to get from point A to B to north fork to south shore was essential for basic survival.

I came to own Peppy by accident, because of an accident. I totaled my Volvo and wasn’t about to rely on my parents for long-term help. I was presented with three different Nissan models, and upon my third test drive, my neutral driving satisfaction turned into an exclamation, “Ooh! She’s peppy!” Hence, her name, which eventually evolved into other expressions (depending on the day or my mood), including Pepsi-Cakes, Peppy Girl, Peppy-Poo, Pepperoni Pie, and oh how the list goes on. We were a match, thus beginning our relationship, pet names and all.

Peppy became my vault. She heard me sing, and try to sing, the songs that inspired me and taught me that I had not just a voice as a writer or closeted singer, but also a voice as a young woman. It was therapy. Some may turn to fitness or hobbies to relieve their stress or work through problems, but I confess, I’m a car singer—a hardcore car singer. Summers with the sunroof open called for a mix of favorite female songwriters and 90s alternative tunes, the ones I’d once recorded from the radio on cassette tapes (Google those last two words if you don’t recognize them) on my father’s silver boom box. The Fugees. No Doubt. Jewel. Oasis. Alanis Morissette. Garbage. Goo Goo Dolls. There’s another list that goes on.

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My guilty pleasures were head and shoulder-bopping pop singles, and I still turn up the volume when Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous” (a duet with Timbaland) finds its way back onto mainstream FM stations ten years after its debut. The confines of my car’s doors, roof, and windows meant that whatever I spoke or chanted would remain safely inside. I used my car as my own little stage when I was too afraid to sing in front of others. It was like American Idol was airing during every drive and I won every time. It should be noted that driving carefully is always priority number one (before attempts at hitting those belted out high notes in Sia’s “Alive,” which I can do!).

On long drives home from The Hamptons (for education, not luxury living), phrases for songs and descriptions for stories came to me. I couldn’t always pull over to write everything down, so I’d use the voice recorder app on my iPhone, logging hours of myself singing about everything I could. Those earlier penned melodies and hooks still keep me company years later. When, for whatever reason, I couldn’t rely on technology to save my inspiration, I would just repeat the lines of whatever I thought of over and over again, sometimes for up to an hours’ worth of driving, just so I wouldn’t lose the valuable words.

So many memories rise to the surface when it comes to thinking about how Peppy has impacted my life beyond her purpose as a mode of transportation. Nine years is a long time. I’ve told employers that loyalty is one of my strengths because I’ve worked jobs for years in a row, usually moving on only out of financial necessity. I still have close friendships from elementary, middle, and high school. I don’t enter into relationships lightly; I don’t just test the waters of people-knowing with my toes. I’m always all-in. In the end, Peppy, with all of her kinks and quirks and replacement parts and service bills, has been loyal to me.

I drove to meet with Laurie, a new friend to whom I greatly looked up, after 1st boyfriend (not as in the boyfriend who ranks in first place, but just first in the sequence of post-high school romances) broke up with me over the phone. We grabbed gobs of ice cream and toppings galore from the supermarket to gluttonously savor back at her apartment in Saint James (the same one-bedroom I would come to live in six years later). We bonded and wallowed in the heartache that followed so many beautiful, smart, and lovable women who are worthy of the happiness that they struggle to achieve. Also, it was my first time trying Marshmallow Fluff.

I sat in my car, crying on my cell phone to my mother on a December evening. After one tumultuous semester of graduate school, in a Masters in Liberal Arts program and private college that I wasn’t keen on, I needed to drop out. I wasn’t a quitter; I wasn’t used to feeling so not like myself, but I’d been up to my eyebrows in research papers and presentation preparations about Elizabethan writers I didn’t care about. I lost track of the creativity that I desperately needed to express in my own writing. I couldn’t wait to drive off campus and never look back on that feeling of failure again. I drove with only the plan of figuring out a plan for myself.

It was barely four hours into 2011 when my parents drove me to JFK airport. I was flying to Italy by myself to study abroad, determined to write my story, whatever I thought it was at the time. My shoulder bag, stuffed with a laptop and plenty of beauty supplies, weighed me down in the passenger seat. When we parked, I took my luggage out of the trunk, surprised that my carry-on bag was all that was tucked inside the storage space. It was like I had so much room left to fill in the world.  

On the July afternoon on the day after Amy Winehouse died, I’d driven back to Lake Grove from my first writer’s conference in Southampton. I’d been home for only an hour when 2nd boyfriend insisted that we talk about the “break” we were on, which could only mean one thing. We sat in my car in a Starbucks parking lot (neither of us had much privacy at home) when he said, “I can’t be happy with you if I’m not happy with myself.” The road beneath me sunk as my broken heart and I returned home.

In the summer, I parked Peppy in the shade of the parking lot at work (at the bank) so I could take power naps before returning from my lunch break. Sometimes I would read to relax, but the routine of “numbers and paper” (a phrase I often used to describe a job that entailed my being in the presence of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash) dragged me down. When there wasn’t any road construction on the highway across the way, I’d close my eyes, tune out, and forget that thirty-five minutes later my cell phone’s alarm would ring.

I circled 3rd boyfriend’s block over and over again. He said he’d be ready for me to come over at 9:30pm. It was Valentine’s Day, but already night time. I had work during the day and he had a night class that I didn’t expect him to skip for our new relationship, or whatever it was that we were calling our time together. We ended up circling around each other for nearly four years. The miles weighed on my heart just as much as they wore on Peppy.

After I moved into my apartment in September of 2013, I’d been working so much between both jobs and another shot at the right fit graduate school that my first do-nothing-at-all day off was in December—the blizzardy white-out kind of snow day for which the northeast is famous. I’d spent the day binging on an entire season of Mad Men because I just had to clear my mind of everything that changed over the last few months. I’d been checking on my car parked in the street through the blinds, waiting for the right time to clear it off and dig out the area around it, so I could drive wherever I needed to go when it was time to go.

On a harried Sunday night drive after work (at a retail store) and just days before Christmas, I parked next to a dumpster, the only spot available in the apartment complex’s full lot. I checked my makeup in the mirror, not wanting to look too made up, so I decided to forego lip gloss (which I never wear anyway—gasp!), but feeling and looking pretty for this first date was the confidence I needed to put myself out there for someone worth the fuss. I texted where I was parked, he appeared, and then walked me in to his place. Dinner was cooking on the stove, and all the smells of a meal made by someone very special waited for my indulgence.  

Rather than feeling like I’m letting go of a trusted companion, I’m simply choosing to believe that the new car I recently purchased, another twinkling black Nissan, is not just an upgraded version of my car, but that she’s been pampered and preened for a much-needed makeover. Peppy II (or Peppy 2, Peppy Due [doo-eh, as per the number two in Italian], Pepster, and more nicknames to come) is stylish and sleek, a good fit for upcoming adventures.

I’m not even entirely embarrassed about the sentimentality I ascribe to the vehicle. It’s not a materialistic thing, that I need a cool car to feel something better about myself. It’s just so symbolic that looking ahead is always something happening right in front of you. It was hard to say goodbye to the old wheels (even in the midst of so many other bigger things happening in life), although I know Peppy (the original) won’t be too far away, parked in front of another home, driven by a new driver (who will coincidentally be attending the college in the fall where I work), and serving her noble purpose of steering towards a better future.

Maybe those kids from my class that time weren’t too far off the mark in their excitement about driving. I, someone who’s prided herself on being a bit different from the crowd (liking the color green instead of pink, for example—I know, so radical!), just took a little longer to realize and appreciate the value of driving and owning an automobile. Whatever it is that you choose to do, wear, say, think, be, and drive, there’s always somewhere amazing to go. It’s in those moments, when I’m behind the wheel, when life is happening. With that, the soulful 1994 hit “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree is the empowering anthem I choose to end on. Because… why not be everything?

Brooding with Grace (Because Negativity is Not My Style)


_MG_3306As a writer, and more specifically a memoirist, self-reflection is the name of the game, like wine goes with dinner and feet belong in heels. Much of my past writing was derived from experiences that left me disappointed and feeling like half of a person, where I questioned my place in the world on a verbose journey towards self-discovery. My stories about past relationships always revolved around the role I filled in them and their aftermath. I couldn’t be myself, nor could I admit that there was a self to be.

All ambiguity aside, my relationship status has changed, meaning that the relationship I was in is something of which I am presently out. Perhaps it’s the numbing blur of a heavy Sunday masked as inspiration to write some great epic essay about self-respect and identity, but all I want to write about is that I deserve to receive the love that I give. Waiting for someone to catch up with you when they admit that they don’t see it happening is an unhealthy waste of lovely home-cooked meals, planning weekends away, as well as cuddle-filled movie nights and Game of Thrones binges. Speaking of, I’m writing this while about to embark on my first single girl night’s sleep in a long time after escaping into a season four marathon of Orange is the New Black (because fictional misery and prison trifles oddly seem very calming at this point). I’ve consumed more green tea than is probably a good idea, but maybe I will rest easy with the clarity that I am responsible for the life I build for myself and anyone who I invite to be in it.

In the last enlightening twenty-four hours, I’m reminded that even when life takes a turn for the seemingly worst, it’s up to only yourself to feel bad about it. Turning a very negative negative into a positive isn’t necessarily something that can happen overnight (although inevitable manic cleaning fits of the Swiffer and Clorox variety help). I just can’t stay quiet. At the same time, I don’t want to rant about heartbreak or what a bad guy he is because neither will serve an intelligent or proactive purpose (especially because I will always see the good in him, even if he doesn’t see it for himself).

I’d hoped that most of my current blog writing would focus on questions about defining beauty and body image, style and fashion, being a 2016 woman, confidence, or friendship; this post is a culmination of all aforementioned themes. Even if I haven’t covered them all yet, they’ve been circulating from my heart to my head and now to my hands and onto the screen. I am a better woman because I can love and I know the kind of person I want to love. Before I entered this relationship, I’d abandoned the whole planning-a-future-with-someone thing and the what-comes-after part (partly because I was a grad student in thesis mode, but also) because I’d obsessed about all that happily ever after stuff enough in my twenties, getting let down much too much by plenty of poor choices in partners. Now love is awake inside of me and rather than letting it torture me, I’m returning the love onto myself, one that is stronger than ever.

I am a more beautiful woman because I can look in the mirror and believe that I’ve been good to the people who I care most about. I have loved in the only way I know how to. I am enough and no one can convince me otherwise. I’ve stated before that I have the life I want in the home I’m living in. I share my life with friends who light up my heart with their support and joy; they have given me a larger sense of family. I have gained the power of using words in a way that can (hopefully) inspire creativity and beauty (even if I’m writing about relationship woes). While nothing in life is wholly perfect, I would not profess that I am without flaw. It takes a long time for me to stop loving someone, even when I know it’s better to move on and upwards (which is essentially what I’m trying to write about here), but these things take time, so brooding with grace it is. That’s more my style. Grace goes with a-line dresses and maxi skirts anyway. This is just something I know.

My greatest fault would be overprotecting myself for too long in ways that my partner will never know, but it’s a regret that I can live with since the in-the-long-run picture is coming into focus with solely my curly-haired smiling selfie and any opportunity ahead that I can seize. It’s with a deep, thoughtful breath that I remain positive (despite the tearful waves of panic and loss that will sneak up on me). What is meant to be will be and the strength I have inside of me will take me there.

It’s probably a good idea to delete some of those Gwen Stefani songs from my iPhone and revamp my playlist with some tunes a little less based on having a significant other. With optimism in mind (and maybe the fact that I know our paths will cross again), here’s a little song I wanted to end on: “Maybe” by Birdy.

Cover Craze: Amy Schumer Conquers Vogue’s July Issue!


For no real, legit, justified reason at all, I was hesitant to jump on the Amy Schumer-loving bandwagon. In retrospect, the thought of it now is insane because I’m all about strong, confident, smart women who have a lot to say & say it well. Since I’m not a Comedy Central watcher (perhaps another flaw I should seek to rectify?), I didn’t know what Inside Amy Schumer was for the longest time. My first exposure to the Long Island native & comedy pioneer (shame on me as a fellow LI gal!) was during that one scene on HBO’s Girls during the season 3 premiere when she yells at Hannah & Adam at Grumpy’s after Adam broke it off badly with Shiri Appleby’s practically perfect catch character, Natalia. Watch it here. I digress.

I love everything that Amy Schumer is about & I can’t wait to read her book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo (read an excerpt here), which hits bookshelves on August 16th. It’ll fit in perfectly with my summer of humor reading by female authors, but what’s really the best of both worlds is that Amy is July’s cover girl for Vogue!

Amy Schumer for Vogue July 2016The article (by Jonathan Van Meter) is nothing short of fabulous & funny, inspiring & honest, & chalk full of quotes & one-liners from the Trainwreck star (Golden Globe-nominated too, by the way) you’ll walk away with still bouncing around in your head well into the later hours of the night. The comedian / actress / writer / producer / cover girl / Jennifer Lawrence’s bestie / all around badass of feminism bluntly & endearingly discusses her love life, the reality of her sexcapade past, her admiration of the late Joan Rivers, her feelings about the worlds of fashion & Hollywood, Hillary Clinton, & the importance of family.

Amy Schumer for Vogue July 2016 01 Amy Schumer for Vogue July 2016 02 Amy Schumer for Vogue July 2016 03 Amy Schumer for Vogue July 2016 04If Amy’s words on the page (or website) aren’t enough to give you a giggle or smirk, check out the video below of Amy & Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s hijinx when they hilariously swap their respective comedy club touring & high fashion lives.

If you don’t subscribe already to Vogue, go buy the issue & support the print industry, if not for the glossy photos (by none other than Annie Leibovitz) of an elegant Amy traipsy through New York City in glamorous gowns & designer duds, then at least for the free perfume samples. Check out when & where Amy is touring this summer (her upcoming Madison Square Garden gig is SOLD OUT!)! Happy Styling!

Tales of Retail: Do You Hear Yourself?


Tales of Retail: Do You Hear Yourself?I’ve always worked in some kind of retail and/or customer service capacity. It’s provided me with the most surprising life experience when it comes to interacting with the public (and their attitudes). However, this essay is by no means a rant to condemn the ill-mannered Long Island shopper. Surely, I’m not the only person who can attest to plenty of OMFG-moments at work when the individual with whom I’m speaking is a weirdo or disgustingly offensive.

I can’t say that it’s all been a bumpy ride of rudeness and bad behavior. After all, I’m an optimist, a wine glass half full kind of gal, always hopeful that my kindness will be equaled with polite treatment. One of the perks of so many years of clothing retail under my patent leather belt is that I’ve developed my voice as a woman passionate about fashion while in the field, even when my first department store job responsibility was essentially to just hang up clothes and keep the racks neat before closing time. Currently, my position (dream job, really) at the local community college is on hiatus for summer break, so I’m primarily working at my second job (surrounded by dresses and tops and earrings, oh my!) until the end of August divides my schedule between writing and fashion once again. While I long for the days when I can return to tutoring young minds about the importance of classic literature and language clarity, the classroom of life in which I’m currently enrolled is my retail job, where there’s no shortage of education (one much different than you’d expect to find in any textbook).

Lesson #1: The Beauty Debate is Real. Like Really Real.

On a sunny Thursday morning, I was ringing up a customer’s purchase with all the usual chit-chat that makes for an enjoyable, hassle-free shopping experience. Never afraid to participate in conversation with women in my mother’s demographic, I started with a “How did you find everything today?” and added an “I love the colors in this blouse you’re buying!” with all the manners and enthusiasm that my mother taught me to impart on others. The customer was a sweet, 60-something strawberry blonde who reminded me of a giggling Dianne Weist from Practical Magic (minus the 90s interpretation of a middle-aged New England witch). She adjusted her scarf and smiled at me with the same genuine pleasantry that I’d expect she’d show to her grandchildren when offering them dessert after big Sunday family dinners.

When it came time to pay, said lady unfolded the bills from her wallet and asked, “Did you hear what they are doing to money now?” They meaning society? The people who run the Internet? The government was likely the answer, but I didn’t ask to her clarify the they.

“No. What?” I was hoping (again, there’s that glass of hope getting gulped) to hear something refreshing from her. I knew well and good enough about arguments surrounding which female or individual representation of diversity should replace a dead Caucasian male president on U.S. currency. I accept this change—no matter who will be illustrated as the face on money—simply because change is inevitable. If the bank accepts the cash, I will spend it. Also, I believe everyone should be represented everywhere (diplomacy much?) since this is a melting pot nation.

They wanna put Harriet Tubman on the ten dollar bill. I mean, I know she did a lot of good things, but she’s so ugly. Who wants to look at her ugly face on money? Certainly not me. I think it’s a bad idea.” This woman, content in her stance, looked to me as if vying to win my vote.

I took a breath to count out her change, gather her receipt, and hand her back both items. I wasn’t one to engage in political conversation (people pleasers like me rarely do). My reliable “Change is crazy” and “Who knows what’ll happen?” replies satisfied an end to the conversation before we mutually wished each other a nice day. I doubt Dianne Weist’s doppelganger gave her commentary a second thought.

This interaction took place months ago and I’ve probably thought about it every day since (along with the next zinger of a lesson I’m writing about). For anyone who follows fashion or beauty blogs, then you know the debate about beauty is really real. Additionally, saying that Harriet Tubman “did a lot of good things” is a very obvious and grand understatement (see that juxtaposition there?). Of course, in these complicated United States of America, people have the freedom of speech to say what they’d like about how they feel, just like I’m doing with this essay (and I’m realizing now that what I’m writing has become political and I’m not portraying my people pleaser side accurately). Had the chains of necessity to pay my bills and survive comfortably as an unmarried woman living on my own, I would have posed to the customer this question: “How does Harriet Tubman’s beauty, or lack thereof in your opinion, even become a legitimate factor in her eligibility to serve as a symbol of this country on our money?” My next question would be to this woman about another woman: “Do you hear yourself?”

Lesson #2: Style is What You Make of It.

As sales associates at my store, we are encouraged to ask customers questions to gauge their clothing needs, build a dialogue with them, and thus a relationship that they will return to for their next shopping trip. Most of the time, I like this part of the job. I offer specific options to meet a customer’s desire and more often than not, we cohesively come to a stylish solution. It’s very satisfying to help other women express themselves through fashion and style. In a way, it’s not very different from tutoring writing. In this case, words and punctuation are replaced with outfits and accessories, all serving the purpose of articulating our identities and ideals with visual symbols.

No more than a week after encountering the anti-Harriet Tubman customer, I was working on the sales floor, recovering the dressing room during a crowded Saturday afternoon rush. With an armful of recently discarded merchandise, I passed a woman who was searching through a color story sea of blue and green tops and coordinating bottoms. Before I could ask her if she needed help finding anything, she exclaimed, “I used to love to wear plaid!” Instantly, and because of the way she so forlornly spoke, I thought of plaid as a beloved television show that was prematurely cancelled, leaving the viewing public on a melodramatic cliffhanger forever (Nashville anybody?).

“Why don’t you wear plaid?” I asked. I looked at her full figure and roots with whispers of gray, prepared that she’d say something about how the lines of plaid designs were unflattering for her shape and size, or that plaid was for kids and Christmas pajamas (all of which are factual explanations that have been confessed to me in the past).

“Because only gay people wear plaid,” she said stone-faced. I was suddenly caught in another exchange in which I didn’t want to be, just as my tongue was caught wanting to say, “Do you hear yourself?”

“Oh that’s not true,” I replied with the playful disposition of someone who’d just heard that a Sasquatch walked into the store. “Anyone can wear plaid.” I, a heterosexual woman, have some plaid pieces in my wardrobe, but I wasn’t about to get myself and my style choices involved.

“No. It’s true. I went to California and learned that only gay people wear plaid. Now I can’t wear plaid anymore.” She slumped her shoulders with surrender and regret in the belief of a pattern that dates back to circa mid-18th century Scottish tartans.

“Ooo-kay.” When I don’t know what to say, I say “okay” in a way that sounds more like a question than a response. I continued, “We have plenty of nice tops at the front of the store. Lots of new prints and colors for the summer. If you’d like, I can show you.” Talk about chugging right along to a new subject. Even after I presented her with a table of t-shirts that were on sale, she continued to unhappily wander through the store’s selection. Perhaps she felt marginalized in her misunderstood self-imposed ban on plaid, just like she was marginalizing the LGBTQ+ community with her homophobic statement. I could chalk up this woman’s offensive stereotype as a filter malfunction, but that’s really too gentle of an excuse. Despite the fact that I vehemently disagree with the spreading of generalizations, I was compelled to look past her ignorance and do my duty as a loyal employee of retail. My hope (geez, hope is spilling all over the place here) was to open her mind and style to something that made her happy to express who she is in her own way (by more graceful and appropriate means like flattering clothing). After all, style is what you make of it, not what others make you believe it is. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be fun to get dressed in the morning.

These are two examples that made me stop in my espadrille-marching tracks to wonder not just what the world is coming to, but how I can use these experiences to lead a more positive life. In my previous essay (#SelfieTherapy: Confidently Breaking Through), I encourage readers to spread positivity when it came to beauty. I’d like to reiterate that sentiment in an even larger sense, sharing positivity about life, especially given the recent horrific shooting that took place at an Orlando night club where gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender patrons were targeted and murdered.

I say, wear what you want to wear. In doing so, contribute something fundamentally positive to society. Teach future generations something valuable about respect and kindness. Celebrate the differences we have because we all have differences and we’re all here in this country because of those differences. It takes a stronger person to embrace those differences and a weaker one to use them as ammunition against someone else.

Hope is always present in my writing, as is strength (when it comes to acceptance and all that jazz), which is why I decided to end this essay with a song that readers might not be familiar with. Sara Bareilles’ “Hercules” sends a powerful message about overcoming weakness to become a better person. It’s a gives-you-chills kind of song when blasting it in the shower. Happy Styling!

#SelfieTherapy: Confidently Breaking Through



Confession: I believe in selfies. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. I am a fashion blogger, therefore posting images of myself and my style come with the territory. At first, my mission was to focus solely on talking about what I observed around me: bargain deals on stylish must-haves, current fashion industry trends, and of course, I wanted to dish on the best of the best dressed in the celebrity world. Looking back on six years of blogging, here I am now, a veteran of the selfie. I snapped pics of myself on an old flip phone before the term “selfie” was a blip in the 21st century tech-savvy lexicon. I did this partially because my vision is so poor without my glasses, and I hardly knew what the real, natural me looked like to the world. Essentially, I was trying to see myself.

Some may argue that taking a selfie is narcissistic, shallow, shaming to other women, Kardashian-like even (I shudder to drop the family name, by the way). In an era where social media is the landscape on which it’s a natural reflex to announce updates of our lives, so many questions appear under the public lens, especially when it comes to the appearance of women. While I’ve been fortunate not to encounter too many haters as I’ve developed Style Darling Daily, my exploration of selfie culture started with #selfietherapy and ends with positivity in the fact that I am who I am, I know who I am, and it’s something that cannot be negatively influenced by any outsider. And honestly, the more I listen to Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too,” the more I want to talk about celebrating the self.

I’ve had many conversations with my female friends about the times in our lives when we’ve felt unattractive and out of touch with our worth. We equated happiness with our images to whatever our relationship statuses had been at the time. Then, we discussed the vocabulary associated with our physical selves, which helped me further understand the negativity women (including myself) put themselves through when it came to our faces, weights, bodies, and general ideas of beauty. The words “cute,” “pretty,” “beautiful,” and “sexy” each ranked very differently. During these discussions, it was agreed that “cute” was overall the most frequently identified term for our appearances, and the safest adjective to admit to each other (without exposing our insecurities). We could accept ourselves as “cute,” but not always “pretty,” and hardly ever “beautiful.” “Cute” became such a security blanket that it might as well have meant “okay.” I was never okay with looking “okay.” By the end of the gab session, it was clear that so many women rarely achieved feeling “pretty,” “beautiful,” and “sexy” on their own terms and for themselves. These are friends of mine who are successful, intelligent, and by no means anything less than beautiful (#truth!). I greatly admire these women; they inspire me both personally and professionally, and in some instances, I have a major case of hair envy that I secretly explore in an internal monologue (but you know, in a healthy way… haha). All of this “beauty labeling” prompted me to look closer at myself because after all, I am in control of how I see myself. My face. My body. All of it.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when it was that I began to attach #selfietherapy to my selfie posts on Instagram, but I can tell you about how I recognized that posting seflies became a strategy for positive reinforcement. I’d been in a dragged-out-of-my-mind-for-I-don’t-know-why-or-how romantic situation where my worth was constantly being questioned—not outright using language, but through neglectful behavior of which I was unfortunately on the receiving end. I spoke up often about how I needed to hear from my partner that he cared about me since his behavior showed otherwise; I pleaded that I deserved better treatment. I believed that I’d earned respect, love, and kindness from him (after years of complicated on-and-off-and-on-and-off-ness). I was in my thirties, living on my own, pursuing a Master’s degree, balancing two jobs, and constantly (desperately, really) going above and beyond to cling to whatever there was to salvage with my connection to this person. Life was intact (albeit there was a whole lot of denial happening in there too) and I deserved the obvious reward of acknowledgment. However, after too many breakups and fake-makeups, I realized that what I thought was lacking in what I wanted from my partner was actually displaced. I really needed love, attention, and care from another source: moi. By prolonging this going-nowhere romance, I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I wanted. I was expecting someone else to do it for me, facing perpetual disappointment and lowering my self-esteem in the process.

Simultaneously, I was completing my second year as a graduate student, preparing for the thesis crunch-time on a memoir project. At this point, I was so in touch with my feelings and how to communicate them that the chapters of my memoir were practically falling off my fingertips, onto the keyboard, and appearing in Times New Roman on the screen as fast as I could blink. During one workshop, I admitted to a professor (slash-genius-slash-mentor) that my relationship with said no-good-boyfriend had ended. In return, I was given the infallibly appropriate advice: “The best revenge is to live well.” I snatched up those seven words and with my next selfie, I posted confidently that my life was about living well. That meant I would feel good about me as a person, as well as how the person in that selfie looked. I was taking the time to gain the strength to become a whole and beautiful individual, inside and out.

It’s been well over a year since I’ve been in #selfietherapy, making it my mission to not just capture a good hair day or when being tired and makeup-free reveal a surprisingly healthy, happy Alissa-selfie. I’ll be honest—I’m currently struggling a great deal with what to do with my time now that I’ve graduated with my MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, that the memoir is complete, and what it means to not really have a plan for myself for the first time in three years. I keep coming back to the idea that I have something bigger to say with my blog, something more than about shopping tips for women of every size or the designer duds that celebrities are wearing on the red carpet. While these sides of blogging still interest me, I know now that I’m meant to do something more important with all of these experiences, especially when women’s style, bodies, beauty, confidence, and empowerment are each so presently intertwined everywhere you look. Just google anything about Sports Illustrated cover model Ashley Graham (who is killing it!), Oscar-winning actress Renée Zellweger’s fortysomething face, Emilia Clarke’s petition for nudity equality on Game of Thrones, or Modern Family’s Ariel Winter about her recent breast reduction. The world (and Internet) would be a better place if we concentrated on celebrating the sparkle of being women, rather than spreading any more toxicity for younger generations to absorb.

I’ve written this as a declaration to embrace myself: my strength, voice, beauty, confidence, identity—all of which can be seen in a selfie. Even if nobody reads this post, or I get slammed with spam email because of it, I will continue to participate in the act of posting selfies because I’m not afraid to say that I love myself for who I am and what I look like. There were too many years where feeling like that was basically nonexistent. Also, I want to reinforce to others that self-love, though it can be difficult to achieve and accept, is worth the screen time it takes to get there, minus the shaming or bashing from the less enlightened public.

In case you or someone you know needs some inspiration (and for your viewing pleasure), watch Meghan Trainor do her thing in the music video below for “Me Too.” (If you didn’t know, the Grammy-winning artist removed a previous cut of the music video after her curvy shape was unrealistically edited to a slimmer size. Talk about taking control of your image and sending the right message!)

Watch This Style: Michelle Williams & Alicia Vikander Star in Louis Vuitton’s Cruise ’16 Ads & Short Film, ‘The Spirit of Travel!’


Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of TravelFor some more fall fashion inspiration, I thought I’d share the latest, gorgeous ad campaign from Louis Vuitton, starring three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams & it-girl Alicia Vikander (The Man from U.N.C.L.E. & The Danish Girl). The actresses & spokesmodels are showing off the most elegant design’s from the brand’s Cruise ’16 collection, set in the Palm Springs desert, featuring 70s inspired clothing & luxe luggage & bags. 

I’m all about fashion for function & affordability, but from time to time, it’s also important to be aware of what’s going on in the industry for the easiest inspiration, where high-end glamour can influence your street style. Watch the video below for the full experience of The Spirit of Travel.

The gorgeous ad campaign plays off the setting with rich neutrals & refreshing pops of color, perfect for any shopper of any age & style.

Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of Travel 01 Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of Travel 02 Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of Travel 03 Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of Travel 04 Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of Travel 05 Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of Travel 06 Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of Travel 07 Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of Travel 08 Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of Travel 09 Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of Travel 10 Michelle WIlliams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton Cruise '16 - The Spirit of Travel 11What do you think of the Louis Vuitton campaign & video? Do you follow brands & their ever-changing campaigns? Are you inspired by the direction of the line? For more fashionable posts, check out affordable flats for the office inspired by Emma Stone & Karlie Kloss, fall plaid must-haves like Taylor Swift & Reese Witherspoon, fall capes for every style inspired by Jamie Chung & Gwen Stefani, & Olivia Palermo’s newest jewelry collaboration with BaubleBar. Happy Styling!