Friday, March 29, 2013

American Rhythm Style

I thought I would share a few photos that I just received from a fellow competitor.

This dance style is American Rhythm and I'm pretty new at it.  I had a great time trying it out at the competition.  Fortunately, many of the concepts from Smooth and Standard style transfer well to this style....such as posture concepts and keeping head and eyes up and not looking at the floor.

This is Swing


Rhumba.....the dance of love....hahahaha!!! Lots of Latin motion; hip action!

oops.....looking down at the floor!

American Rhythm is a blast and I had a great time, but it will never replace my love for American Smooth (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz) and International Standard (Waltz, Slow Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep)!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Is It Spring Yet?

Boots, 9 West ( I love them); Top, thrifted; skirt, dress barn; necklace....three guess....
I'll keep this post short and sweet and spare you my verbose ramblings for today!  
The outfit on my left was perfect for a dance practice; I have a showcase coming up in a week and a day and I don't even have all of my choreography yet!  Marcel must have a lot of confidence to push things this close to the deadline....I hope it get it right.
Its a great dance and I have a super cool edgy/urban/industrial look planned.  I'm looking forward to sharing it with you!

This outfit doesn't look as great in photos as it felt.  Consignment shop sweater, thrifted Dress Barn skirt, turtle neck, Ralph Lauren during my bad girl credit card days.

In the old courthouse
Super comfy Clark shoes; love the detail

Lia Sophia 'Pixel' Bracelet

Lia Sophia reversible necklace......Navy...or...


As you can see I was a bit nautical today.  I'm channeling spring...and the nautical inspired outfit fit right in with todays 40 something 'warm front'.

C'mon Spring!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Power of Adornment

Adorning oneself with make up, jewelry and clothing has transformative power.
When I use the word adornment, it almost sounds artificial, prissy and pretentious.

I don't think it is any of those things because taking a little bit of time to adorn yourself, to decorate your body with pretty clothing or jewelry, or to put make-up on your face has the power to uplift your mood and elevate your self esteem.
The YOU that you present to the world should look and FEEL good.  It's pretty hard to look good when you don't feel that you look your best.

Wendy and Sabrina preening with their new bling!
I snuck in a pic from my February competition.  I just got this and I'm very please with my shaping and movement.
I see this in action whenever I do a Mary Kay Makeover or sell a sparkly piece of jewelry or advise a jewelry party.
Makeup doesn't have to be elaborate...just a pretty wash of color to brighten your face!
 I always knew that I felt better when I put some effort into adorning myself and attending to my looks a little  more diligently, but I didn't  really pay attention to what it could do for others until I started selling Lia Sophia jewelry. ( I promise this is not a shameless plug for my LS business).  When I started selling, I noticed how much the ladies smile and admired themselves.  A bling-y necklace can reflect flattering light and color on your face, but it also transforms your experience of yourself.  I love seeing the expressions on the faces of customers when they put on their new bling.  In the picture on the right, Sheila and Wendy, the owners of my favorite little lunch shop in my hometown did some fun hand poses with their new pieces.  They were so excited, smiling....uplifted.  What a joyful thing to witness.

I try to take the time to 'adorn' myself everyday.  Somedays I do a better job and others days I miss the mark.  But I never miss it so badly that I don't feel lighter and prettier....unless I don't do anything. Catching a reflection of myself in a store mirror doesn't torment me when I put effort into my appearance.

This past Sunday.....I was in a hurry to get to the bank before it closed ( bank is even open on Sunday at some of their branches) and so I did nothing for my appearance.  I quickly blow-dried my hair in flyaway fashion and hid the untidy results under a beret.  I didn't have time for make up.
I felt irritable, crabby and maladjusted.
I caught the dreaded glimpse in the store mirror....and for a moment wondered who that tired woman was.
Oh yeah, it was me.
I felt terrible.
My physical unkempt-ness had transposed itself onto my mood.
My hair felt like it was flying all over my face, my bangs were falling in my eyes, my hat kept slipping.
My clothes suddenly felt like they were shifting and my socks were slipping down and bunching in my boots.
I couldn't what to get home and get away from my miserable self. I felt like I looked haggard and tired and everyone could see it.
I hope I never do that again.
I was out with my husband and son that day and because I was feeling so miserable I didn't give them my best either.

On my way to school
When I I got home, I took a hot bubble bath and pulled myself together.  I took a moment to pull my crazy hair into a neat ponytail and put on just a bit of blush.
I felt better.
I'm not saying that my emotional well being is immovably tied to my appearance, but I know that when I don't put a little effort into looking better,
I don't feel my best.

"Adornment, what a science; beauty what a weapon; modesty, what elegance!"--Coco Chanel

Delivering some sparkly jewelry
Clothing, makeup, jewelry, hair.....its all positive vanity when it is used to offer a well-groomed presence.

This pretty bracelet is one of the freebies Lia Sophia sent me for booking a March show!
I have seen the brighter smiles and a lightness of carriage when a woman plays in makeup of jewelry or clothing.  Nothing has to be expensive or elaborate, it just needs to be fresh and make you feel a bit brighter and prettier.

You have to polish a star to help it shine its brightest....

Shine on, pretty ladies!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lighthearted and Serious

*Warning* *This post turns toward a very serious matter at the end*  Feel free to do the outfit check and run if you so desire!

Isn't this a cool tree?  I've always had a thing for gnarly, interesting looking trees.

This tee sits outside of a charming local Italian restaurant where I had lunch with my friend Rose this week.

My hometown is filled with old homes like this one, which was converted into the restaurant about 10 years ago.  Before that, it had been a lovely French restaurant.
This town is full of old architectural charm...I'm in awe of it!

Vintage Rose necklace by Lia Sophia
The weather is slowly getting a bit more spring-like and I felt like wearing something just a bit lighter, but because the wind was sharp, I still needed to be warm.  

I decided on warm clothing in lighter colors.  

This cream and brown polka dot skirt by Julio and Julio has some serious 'swoosh factor'

Julio and Julio are designers who travel to ballroom competitions and do a good deal of business there.  These dresses are not ballroom competition dresses, but dresses for social dancing, every day wear or social events.

 The ring is 'Lemon Chiffon' and its one of my favorite LS rings.
I layered two necklaces; the one pictured above and this one, 'Poised' by Lia Sophia.  This particular necklace is their 'Dress for Success' necklace.  The company donates about 3 million in jewelry to the non-profit that benefits women reentering the workforce.  A portion of the proceeds from this necklace go to DFS.

The architecture inside the restaurant is beautiful; a lovely staircase, wide wood moldings, lots of nooks and crannies and places to explore.

This is the restroom. displays in the bathroom!

I'm crazy about the ceiling in one of the main dining areas (there are many dining rooms!).  I want this in my lower level (which has been under construction for 7 years----which means we start we stop we start we stop). 

The white gadget is an antique bread slicer.  This is actually what they use to slice the bread that is served throughout the meal.

There were several original paintings by HGTV's 'Color Splash' designer David Bromstad for sale throughout the building.

On Thursday, I wore this simple black and grey outfit to run errands and to class....

but I jazzed it up with this necklace...'Coil' by Lia Sophia.
When I first saw this necklace last year I said "That is not for me".  I really dislike it.  But it slowly grew on me and it was fun to wear!  It makes a strong statement, especially when worn with a neutral outfit.

This is a bundle of FREE stuff that I earned from Lia Sophia for submitting a party in the month of March.  Several times a year, bonus incentives are offered if we meet certain goals.  In March, we received a different kit of retired pieces each week we submit a party.  I submitted two parties and will receive another bundle of bling next week.

The idea is to use the jewelry to give away as game prizes or booking incentives....therefore, I'm only keeping two pieces.  We can do whatever we want with the jewelry and I like to give pieces to hostesses, but I HAD to keep these two bracelets.

Most bracelets don't fit when I received two that fit beautifully, I had to keep them.
The rest will be gifted to some lovely ladies at my next parties!

*Warning; this is the darker side to my post*

I am also sending a pair of earrings to my sister.
My sister is a recovering heroin addict and has had two years of sobriety this month.
My sister also financially exploited my mother of her very large inheritance in the last two years of her life.  If you haven't read this story and you have the stomach to read it, you can read it here.

It is a big deal for me to send her a simple pair of earrings because her crimes (and consequences my mother suffered as a victim) against my mother were so egregious.
I'm working on forgiving her, but I'm not there yet.
Still, she is my sister and I love her.  I hate her acts, but I love her.
She lives in Chicago now....and I rarely see or talk to her, by her choice.
She spent a year in Cook County jail...and nearly a year in a recovery home.
She has a job in a restaurant and a new boyfriend she met in the recovery home.

She has a very different life than mine.
There are times I feel guilty for the abundance in my life....and times I think about how the circumstance could have been could have been me living her life instead of her perhaps, but for some twist of genetic fate.
If you have read this post and my might be thinking that I must be doing some soul searching...and I am.

But I am not searching from the depths of despair or from a negative place in my life.

Just a periodic self-check that I think is necessary and good.

I am so grateful for the abundance....and so hyper-aware that this is position of responsibility.

I don't get into a dark place when I acknowledge my families' 'dark secrets'; in fact, I am very open about the topic because I know that my experience is one that many other people have experienced.   I open up and find that others who have had similar experiences with family members are able to open up for the first time.   Because they feel embarrassment and shame, they have kept silent...and when I open the door to my story, they feel freer to let go of that and experience the freedom of the release of all of those oppressive feelings.  I know that by sharing my experience.....I give others the opportunity to vent, ask questions, learn and let go of their secret shame.

I feel that I have a RESPONSIBILITY to share and that God leads me to others who need to hear my story. simple outfit post took an unexpected turn; but perhaps it is for the benefit of someone else.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Buying and Giving

I've been blogging a little bit less lately.  I love blogging and I love my community of blogging friends.
Blogging, like dance and like reading, is a hobby that helps to keep me happy.  It gives me mental emotional fortification. Reading your blogs and your comments uplifts me.

Having lunch on Tuesday afternoon at my favorite little retro lunch spot.  They only take cash; old school style.
......and like the rest of you; there are days when I REALLY need the boost I get from reading (and writing) blogs.  Not only does it give me a forum to put my two cents into, but its a place to vent and to share joy in other's good news.  Its a place to celebrate with strangers who've become friends. Its a place to share ideas about wardrobe, accessorizing and to get feedback on what works and doesn't work. Sometimes my blog posts regress into rhapsodizing about clothing and outfit vanity......but my life is so much more than just the everyday vanities I often post about. 

Just goofing around...
I'm just having a good time posting about outfits, accessorizing and dance.  

My Monday outfit
I also recognize the fact that I am fortunate to be in the position I am in...I have many choices in life.  I recognize that many people do not have so many choices and so I want to be sensitive and not make my blog a constant diary of "look at me, look what I have".

A LS piece from the 'Sisters' line; appropriate for girls of all ages; one of my samples for shows
I need to point out that I'm a committed thriftier. Retail shopping is a rare thing for me these days.  I still enjoy hanging out with girlfriends, having lunch and a girl's day out at the mall or other retail venue, but thrifting is my primary wardrobe source.

My very favorite Lia Sophia piece "Love Dust".  If I could keep only one piece, this would be it.
Most of you know I am a Lia Sophia advisor.  I do this for a number of reasons; 1. I love the jewelry, 2. I can't afford the jewelry if I had to buy it retail, and advisors get a HUGE discount so that we can take samples to our shows, 3. Because I make a little bit of money, 4. Its really a blast to do these shows.

I love the pattern on this thrifted skirt.
My point is that, I'm doing what I can to cut corners and still be fashionable.  I also sell Mary Kay skin care and cosmetics....for the exact same reason.  I'm try to SAVE money and still indulge in the things I enjoy.  This means I have to work a bit to do so...but its worth it.

Ralph Lauren.  Yes.....I was kind of bad....but I will have it forever.  Perfect and classic.
This IS a retail purchase, and a fairly pricey one...but I did have a coupon.  Bags are a different story when it comes to thrifting.  I rarely find the bag that I will love and will suit my particular needs.  I like function,quality, ease of use, structure, beauty, and durability (in that order) when it comes to bags.  So I rarely purchase a bag at a thrift or consignment.  I will have this purse for a very long time.  

LS 'Privy' earrings
But I digress.

My first manicure ever.  I love that its so simple and pretty.  I just can't do crazy colors!
I do pamper myself.  Sometimes too often.  But I also give what I get.  I give back to the community, I work hard.  I work at school with my teaching and research assistantship which in turn pays a small salary and pays for my degree.

My keychain....which is a conversation starter to talk to interested people about my LS and MK businesses
I volunteer a significant amount of time every month to two human service organizations.  I donate my time, I donate jewelry for fundraisers.  

At my book club meeting on the sweater...HATE the jeans!  To the thrift pile!
I uplift and support my friends.  I'm not perfect, and I do indulge a bit too frequently.  

Lia Sophia 'Interlink"
But I am also committed to doing my part to make life easier for others....and leaving a positive impact.

Lia Sophia 'Scripted'
I enjoy the bling and the sparkle and the clothing and the dance.  But its not without doing my part to the best of my ability to to be mindful about my choices, my spending and my giving.  Yes, I do love pretty things and I do purchase them; but always in the most  mindful way.

I tried this Nicole Miller dress on, but didn't buy it

Another try on, but not a buy.  

Love Dust and Brocade detail

Love Dust and Brocade layered.  Lia Sophia advisors get an unbelievably huge discount to purchase samples.
By the way...if you are tempted to sell can send me a message and I will give you details. pretty little thrifted skirt.....

I needed to add a a few items to boost my summer wardrobe.  I adore this!  It was $3.00!

Banana Republic top for $5! I'm sorry for the poor quality of the pictures....

Fun, flirty hi-lo dance skirt...thrifted for $3.00!



Fun and funky LS 'Coil' necklace......for girls who like an edge to their bling....

Glaminator......more blingy-edgy Lia Sophia 

I think we all need to make our own choices regarding thrifting and retails spending.  I was driven by the choice to put a stop to all the mindless retail spending I was doing.  I was never happy with my purchases but was relegated to purchase whatever retail stores were selling at any given time.  Now, I find treasures that suit my style.

Sometimes, I miss the is the case with the awful jeans posted above.  
Most of the time I feel that I nail it!
Either way....I believe that is is crucial to share whatever gifts we have with others....whether it is time (volunteering or uplifting others), money (donations) or knowledge.

I don't think that this means I 'earn' all the blessings that I have; I just believe that if I have an abundance, I must give in return.

I need to acknowledge that I was nominated for two blogger awards...the "Leibster" award and the "Versatile Blogger" award.  I do intend to "do" I will post on that soon!

Thank you everyone!