#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!)

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#RedCarpet Review: All The Looks From The 2015 #Emmys, Including #BestDressed Stars Kerry Washington, Lady Gaga, & More!


Tonight’s Emmy awards are already causing a buzz all over the internet, especially among fashion bloggers everywhere. I have nothing but love to show for all the female nominees & presenters on the red carpet. At the end of the day, it’s all about positively celebrating today’s most talented women. However, when it comes to fashion, there’s a legacy about the red carpet & seeing high-end couture & designers’ visions come to life on some of our favorite stars.

Some of my favorites walked the red carpet in California’s sweltering heat to the beat of their own stylish drum, including Scandal star Kerry Washington (in Marc Jacobs), Modern Family star Sarah Hyland (in Zac Posen), a bold January Jones (in  Ulyana Sergeenko), Empire‘s Cookie, Taraji P. Henson (in Alexander Wang), & funny girl Amy Schumer (in Zac Posen).

Kerry Washington, Sarah Hyland, January Jones, Taraji P. Henson, & Amy Schumer at the 2015 Emmys.More beauty was in tow with stars from all side of entertainment, including the highly anticipated star of American Horror Story: Hotel, Lady Gaga (in Brandon Maxwell), Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox (in Calvin Klein Collection), Homeland actress Claire Danes (in Prada), the always curvaceous Christina Hendricks (in Naeem Khan), Parks & Recreation star Aubrey Plaza (in Alexandre Vauthier), & bride to be Sofia Vergara (in St. John).

Lady Gaga, Laverne Cox, Claire Danes, Christina Hendricks, Aubrey Plaza, & Sofia Vergara athe 2015 Emmy's.There were so many trends lighting up the red carpet, such as pops of colors, chain details, shimmers & sparkles, & much more! Also, among the gorgeous fashion choices were additional favorites like Jane the Virgin breakout star Gina Rodriguez (in Lorena Sarbu), Orange is the New Black‘s Danielle Brooks (in Christian Siriano), The Mindy Project show runner Mindy Kaling (in a belted gold number), Blindspot actress Jaimie Alexander (in Armani Prive), & the always statuesque Taylor Schilling (in Stella McCartney). 

Gina Rodriguez, Danielle Brooks, Mindy Kaling, Jaimie Alexander, & Taylor Schilling at the 2015 Emmy's.Watch the slideshow below for a complete red carpet gallery & leave comments on who wore your favorite look! For more stylish posts, check out the best end of the summer deals from JC Penney & Francesca’s, Emily Ratajkowski’s suede skirt look, & affordable scarf inspiration from Rachel Bilson & Jessica Alba. Happy Styling!

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#RedCarpet Review: #2015SAGAwards #BestDressed Gallery, Featuring Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Aniston, Emmy Rossum, & More!


Reese Witherspoon, Claire Danes, Keira Knightley, & Sarah Hyland.

Last night’s Screen Actor’s Guild Awards were full of red carpet surprises from veteran A-listers like Cake nominee Jennifer Aniston (in vintage Galliano), Birdman‘s Emma Stone (in Dior Couture), America’s sweetheart Julia Roberts (in Givenchy), Homeland‘s Claire Danes (in Marc Jacobs), & last year’s it-girl, Lupita Nyong’o (in Elie Saab). Also, there were plenty of newcomers who made an impact, including many Orange is the New Black winners like Uzo Aduba (in Angel Sanchez) & Danielle Brooks (in Christian Siriano), as well as Game of ThronesMaisie Williams (in Self-Portrait).

Some of my favorites of the night included The Imitation Game nominee Keira Knightley (in Erdem), Wild‘s Reese Witherspoon (in Atelier Versace), model & wife, Camila Alves McConauhey (in Donna Karan), designer darling Emmy Rossum (in Armani Prive), Modern Family‘s rising star Sarah Hyland (in Vera Wang), St. Vincent nominee Naomi Watts (in Balenciaga), How to Get Away with Murder winner Viola Davis (in Max Mara), & this season’s golden girl, Still Alice winner, Julianne Moore (in Givenchy).

Now the official countdown to the Academy Awards can begin, which takes place on Sunday February 22nd, sure to wow & inspire more amazing style. Who wore your favorite look? What trends are you still talking about? For all the latest on this awards season, check out previous Red Carpet Review posts with complete galleries from the Golden Globe Awards & Critic’s Choice Awards. If that isn’t enough, get more celebrity inspiration from Style Darling‘s spring dress predictions featuring Kerry Washington & Allison Williams, how to style a statement necklace like Katy Perry or Emma Roberts, & Jennifer Lopez’s stylish press tour for her new movie, The Boy Next Door! Happy Styling!

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Red Carpet Review: The Top 10 Style Darlings To Watch For 2015!


2014 was full of fantastic fashion moment from regular A-listers who made headlines by risking skin, donning matching separates, & keeping it classic with timeless elegance. However, it’s time to talk about the Style Darlings to watch out for in 2015, those who are sure to keep the fashion headlines buzzings, setting trends, & making a stylish name for themselves.

Nicola Peltz, Felicity Jones, Bella Thorne, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Emily Ratajkowski, Kiernan Shipka, Brie Larson, Suki Waterhouse, Ariel Winter, & Kendall Jenner.This includes, Transformers: Age of Extinction actress Nicola Peltz (in Prada), Golden Globe nominee for The Theory of Everything Felicity Jones (in Dior), teen star Bella Thorne (in LOFT), Beyond the Lights actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw (in Lanvin), “Blurred Lines” model-turned-Gone-Girl-actress Emily Ratajkowski (in Diane von Furstenberg), Mad Men ingénue Kiernan Shipka (at the Zac Posen Spring-Summer 2015 show), familiar face & Mark Wahlberg’s co-star in The Gambler Brie Larson (in Alexander McQueen), model & girlfriend of Bradley Cooper: Suki Waterhouse (in Burberry Prorsum), Modern Family actress Ariel Winter (in Mikael D.), & reality star-turned-catwalk pro Kendall Jenner (in Balmain).  

So let’s start….

Nicola Peltz in Balenciaga, Dolces & Gabbana & Stella McCartney, Dior, & Miu Miu.Nicola Peltz made waves on the red carpet while promoting the fourth installment of the Transformers series, but she’s an actress on the rise with roles in TV’s Bates Motel & the film, The Last Airbender, under her belt. When it comes to style, she experiments with classic, Old Hollywood looks, as well as youthful frocks that recall a vintage appreciation. The beautiful blonde can really wear anything, which is why designers like Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney, Dior, & Miu Miu will be banging on her door since she wears clothes so well.

Felicity Jones in Burberry Prorsum, Moschino, Chloe, & Dolce & Gabbana.Felicity Jones is no stranger to the red carpet, but she’s made a name for herself in this year’s The Theory of Everything, opposite fellow trophy contender Eddie Redmayne. The British actress recalls a mix of girl-next-door meets bombshell, keeping her classic style nothing short of sophisticated & effortless. She’s kind of like the English version of USA’s Zooey Deschanel, with dramatic, dark hair & porcelain skin that radiates against everything she wears, like the above looks by Burberry Prorsum, Moschino, Chloé, & Dolce & Gabbana.

Bella Thorne in Alberta Ferretti, Zac Posen, Gucci, & Zara.Disney star Bella Thorne has emerged as a teen-to-watch & young-woman-on-the-verge when it comes to style. The former Shake It Up! actress experiments with feminine gowns, layers of chiffon, as well as chic jumpsuits & mini skirts galore! Her big screen résumé includes the Drew Barrymore-Adam Sandler family comedy Blended & Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day with Steve Carrell & Jennifer Garner. Bella is true to her name, gorgeous in anything she wears, including top designers & brands like Alberta Ferretti, Zac Posen, Gucci, & separates from Zara.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Delpozo, Calvin Klein Collection, Jenny Packham, & Michael Kors.Gugu Mbatha-Raw earned her place in the spotlight with 2014’s Beyond the Lights as a reckless singer & daughter to Minnie Driver. The British import is a classic beauty who wears top designers like a pro. She can mix up lace details, bold prints, minimalist cuts, & bright colors. She’s a must-see for the upcoming awards season, especially having succeeded in Delpozo, Calvin Klein Collection, Jenny Packham, & Michael Kors. Up next for the actress is Jupiter Ascending with Mila Kunis & Channing Tatum, & the drama The Whole Truth with Keanu Reeves & Renee Zellweger.

Emily Ratajkowski in Amanda Wakely, David Koma, Safiyaa, & ZAC Zac Posen.Emily Ratajkowski is a familiar face for showing her best assets in Robin Thicke’s hit “Blurred Lines” music video, but 2014 was her year for her role in Gone Girl. the model-turned-actress has a curvaceous figure that looks fantastic in virtually anything. Some of her most memorable red carpet appearances include looks featuring Amanda Wakely, David Koma, Safiyaa, & ZAC Zac Posen. 2015 means not only hitting the awards season circuit, but also promoting her new films, such as We Are Your Friends with Zac Efron, & the highly anticipated big screen premiere of the Entourage movie. Kiernan Shipka in Valentino, Marni, Tanya Taylor, & Tory Burch.Mad Men‘s Kiernan Shipka is possibly my favorite new addition to the red carpet circuit for keeping her style age appropriate, but also enviable for being elegant & playful at the same time. Not only is there tons of hype surrounding the finale of the AMC drama, but Kiernan also drew well-deserved attention for her controversial role in Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic alongside Heather Graham & Ellen Burstyn. The young actress is perfect red carpet fixture in Valentino, Marni, Tanya Taylor, & Tory Burch. I can’t want to see what else she will wear as she grows into one of the most stylish young women in Hollywood.

Brie Larson in Rodarte, DVF, Prada, & Prada.Brie Larson can currently be seen in The Gambler as Mark Wahlberg’s love interest, but the real drama occurs when the actress hits the red carpet. She can pull off anything from gothic-inspired, chic Old Hollywood, girl next door, & take fashion risks with bold prints & patterns. She’s perfection in Rodarte, Diane von Furstenberg, & Prada. Brie will be making more red carpet rounds when promoting her upcoming films Digging for Fire with Anna Kendrick & Trainwreck also starring Daniel Radcliffe.

Suki Waterhouse in Christian Dior, Burberry Prorsum, Emilia Wickstead, & Peter Pilotto.Suki Waterhouse might not be a household name, but the British model & actress will likely be seen on the arm of awards show darling & her boyfriend, Bradley Cooper. As a model, it’s no surprise that she can wear dresses so well, but it’s the variety that’s caught my attention. She’s ethereal in pastels, plays with volume, takes risks with sheer fabrics, & mixes up patterns & classic silhouettes, as seen in designs by Christian Dior, Burberry Prorsum, Emilia Wickstead, & Peter Pilotto. She’s got a big year coming up with a major role in the next installment in the Divergent series, Insurgent, as well as Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.

Ariel Winter in Badgley Mischka, Black Halo Eve, Kate Spade New York, & NBD.Modern Family‘s Ariel Winter has been the subject of a lot of talk because of her super mature & sexy style- she’s only 16 (turning 17 this month). However, she’s been quoted as saying that she curvy figure & womanly shape calls for more grown up fashions as she’s growing up in the spotlight. Whatever she’s doing, it’s working, especially in looks by Badgley Mischka, Black Halo Eve, Kate Spade New York, & NBD. Since the hit ABC show is up for a ton of awards this season, Ariel will no doubt blow fashion critics away with her continued poise & mature fashion choices.

Kendall Jenner in Topshop, Fausto Puglisi, Chanel, & Sass & Bide.Lastly, it’s hard to talk about 2014’s best trendsetter & fashionistas without mentioning at least one member of the Kardashian crew. That’s new supermodel Kendall Jenner, who appeared on the runways during fashion week for brands like Diane von Furstenberg, Givenchy, Sonia Rykiel, Fendi, & Bottega Veneta. When it came time to hit the red carpet, she looks flawless & pushed the envelope in designs by Topshop, Fausto Puglisi, Chanel, & Sass & Bide.

Whose style caught your eye in 2014? Which of these picks is your favorite on the red carpet? Who are you looking forward to seeing more of during the year? For more stylish posts, check out posts from Runway Rundown featuring Pre-Fall 2015 Collections from Oscar de la Renta, The Rachel Zoe Collection, Marchesa, & Naeem Khan! Happy Styling!

Red Carpet Review: The 2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards, Featuring Amanda Seyfried, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Garner, & More!


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In this latest Red Carpet Review post, we’re one step closer to rounding out this year’s awards season with the red carpet looks from tonight’s 2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards. The ceremony is currently airing & there’s so much movie news to report, however some of the hottest & most-talked-about celebrities have made a splash in couture, following the runway trends, including black gowns (like what we saw at the Golden Globes) on Anne Hathaway (in Giambattista Valli Haute Couture), Elisabeth Moss (in Dolce & Gabbana), Naya Rivera (in Donna Karan), Michelle Dockery (in Chado Ralph Rucci), Tina Fey (in Oscar de la Renta), Jaimie Alexander (in Marc Bouwer) & Kelly Osbourne (in Jenny Packham).

Also, side parts for hair are big, as seen on Jessica Chastain (in Alexander McQueen), Katrina Bowden (in Badgley Mischka), & Naomi Watts (in Marchesa). Colors of the night that popped were pretty pinks & purples on Lea Michele (in Valentino), Nina Dobrev (in Elie Saab), Freida Pinto (in Roland Mouret), & Sally Field (in J. Mendel).

There was a classic & regal combination of blue & navy hues hit the red carpet with Amanda Seyfried (in Zac Posen), Jordin Sparks, Nicole Kidman (in Vivienne Westwood), Jennifer Lawrence (in Christian Dior Haute Couture), Giuliana Rancic (in Max Azria Atelier), & Edie Flaco (in Chagoury).

Lastly, colorblocking & mixed tones in black & white were a hit, featured on Claire Danes (in Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci), January Jones (in Prabal Gurung), Julianna Margulies, & Julianne Moore (in Chanel Haute Couture).

Which looks were your favorites? Are you watching the show tonight? For more red carpet looks this season, check out gallery posts including the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, all black & leather looks on Miranda Kerr & Scarlett Johansson, Louis Vuitton’s checkered runway pieces on Kerry Washington & Jessica Alba, & the 2013 Art of Elysium Heaven Gala! Happy Styling!

Red Carpet Review: The 2013 Golden Globes, Featuring Jessica Alba, Tina Fey, Jennifer Lopez, Katharine McPhee & more!


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The 2013 Golden Globe Awards are still airing, but I just couldn’t wait any longer to post this very thorough gallery. Some of my favorite looks include Tina Fey (in L’Wren Scott), Jennifer Lopez (in Zuhair Murad), Katharine McPhee (in Theyskens’ Theory), Kerry Washington (in Miu Miu), Emily Blunt (in Michael Kors), Lucy Liu (in Carolina Herrera), Rachel Weisz (in Louis Vuitton), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (in Saint Laurent Paris)… just to name a few!

Top trends included lots of black & gold, as seen on Kate Hudson (in Alexander McQueen), Helen Mirren (in Badgley Mischka), & Nicole Kidman (in Alexander McQueen), as well as reds & oranges like Jennifer Lawrence (in Christian Dior Haute Couture), Jessica Alba (in Oscar de la Renta), Marion Cotillard (in Dior), Claire Danes (in Versace), & Zooey Deschanel (in Oscar de la Renta).

Also, you can’t forget about the black looks, some of which I’ve named in my favorites, but I also loved Julianne Moore (in Tom Ford), Adele (in Burberry), Allison Williams (in J. Mendel), Debra Messing (in Donna Karan Atelier), Sofia Vergara (in a floor-length sequin gown), Eva Longoria (in Pucci), & Salma Hayek (in Gucci).

Lastly, softer nearly colorless colors had their place with Anne Hathaway (in Chanel), Lea Michele (in Elie Saab), Amy Adams (in Marchesa), Amanda Seyfried (in Givenchy), Megan Fox (in Dolce & Gabbana), & Hayden Panettiere (in Roberto Cavalli)!

Which looks are your favorite? For more posts from Red Carpet Review, check out galleries from the Critics’ Choice Awards & red carpet from the recent People’s Choice Awards! Happy Styling!

Red Carpet Review: 2012 Emmy Awards Featuring Zooey Deschanel, Sofia Vergara, Hayden Panettiere, & More!


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This is a first for Style Darling. The 64th Annual Emmy Awards are currently airing & I’ve been scouring the web for the last 45 minutes to put together a complete gallery of the fabulous red carpet looks. Some of my favorites include Zooey Deschanel in a princess-like Reem Acra look, Julie Bowen in neon Monique Lhuillier, Claire Danes as a blushing mom-to-be in Lanvin, & Christina Hendricks in a belted design by Christian Siriano. Who are you rooting for? I’m a big fan of Girls, so keep an eye out for the very multi-talented Lena Dunham! Check out the gallery & share with readers which looks are your favorites! Enjoy the show! Happy Styling!