Thursday, June 22, 2017

Here I go, time to officially become my own #girlboss

Yesterday, I left Hamilton as a teacher for the last time. I said my silent goodbyes to the building and the district, and had emotional goodbyes with my coworkers that have become family. But despite the  sadness I felt leaving my friends, I finally felt at peace. My ability to breathe changed - it became lighter and easier. I felt my energy calm and stay calm for more than just a few minutes. I was a middle school music teacher for seven years, and as scary as it is to leave a profession, one that I spent five years of college preparing for, everything in my body knew it was what I needed to do. Don't get me wrong, I still cry every time I talk about not seeing my friends at work every day ((takes a deep breath)), but I know in my heart that they will be lifetime friends and family.

I have spent a lot of time this week thinking about everything that I learned about myself from being a teacher and meeting the friends I have through teaching. The students taught my that I have more patience than I ever thought possible, and that cursing loudly behind closed doors to maintain that patience is a total NECESSITY. I learned that I am a full on mama bear when it comes to protecting and defending the people I care about, and those people can include a student that I had for three years. Being a teacher definitely helped me prepare to become a mom. My first class of sixth graders that I had for all three years before sending them off to high school showed me that I was meant to be a mom. ((takes another deep breath)) And I will get to see them graduate from high school tomorrow. My students also taught me that children are stronger than you think, and it's impressive and heartbreaking at the same time. Teaching in Hamilton, you hear so many  too many stories about the awful home lives that these kids have, and for some of them, you would never know, because they are polite rays of sunshine. For the others, you just hope for the best, and pray that you don't hear about them in the news for something awful one day.

I don't really know what changed to make me decide to leave teaching. I don't think it was one specific event or reason. I give my all to everything I am passionate about, and I knew it wasn't fair to my coworkers or my students to stay, if I couldn't give 100% anymore.

My coworkers were the best daily cheerleaders for me. If I was having a bad day (which unfortunately happened a lot), they would all rally to cheer me up in a way that seemed effortless to them. If any of us needed something, at least two of us would step up to help. They taught me to laugh at myself, embrace my (not so) inner bitch, take care of myself, highlight my strengths, and tackle my weaknesses. I will always miss seeing them every day, and being spoiled with knowing everything going on in their lives, but I know that it's not goodbye, it's just see you later soon.

So, what now? I'm pursuing styling full time! I am finally and completely becoming my own #girlboss. In addition to having my own clients, I have been applying to other styling jobs, and I have a lot of events and collaborations in my future. I'm excited, I'm scared, but most importantly, I'm ready.

My husband, my honey bunny, and my family have also been absolutely incredible in this process. Poor Tony has to hear me on a a daily basis going from "This feels so right, I'm so excited" to "Are you sure I can do this?????", and he handles it with such strength and a calm, soothing energy. It's amazing, and I can't fully express my gratitude for that. I know it's been hard for those closest to me to watch me to take this leap, and that's why it means the world to me to have their support.

Here's to the future, keeping my chin up, and always moving forward.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Since summer has officially arrived, and we are now in the middle of a heat wave, I think I can finally think back to this photo shoot from February and not get goosebumps from remembering how cold it was! I'm sure that you'll recognize some of these faces from the other group photo shoots that we have done! These PHLbloggers are so much fun, and I always love seeing what they wear for our different shoots! 

This shoot was done on a chilly Sunday morning around Rittenhouse, and this particular theme was of one of the biggest trends for spring and summer, ruffles! As you can see from all six of us, you can choose to embrace ruffles by wearing a top with a large statement sleeve or subtly show them off in small ruffles on a clutch. There are ruffles for any style, and as you’ll read in our descriptions, you can even find great pieces that are on trend from different Philly designers and boutiques!

From left to right: Priyanka Setty, Gurpreet Talwar, and Kelsey McKee

Priyanka Setty of Paint the Town Chic
“With this look, I combined two of my favorite trends, ruffles and metallics!  The ruffles on the top added a little visual interest, but the top was also a great solid base for the printed skirt. Both the top and the skirt are from H&M! The best part - I didn't have to accessorize with a necklace.  I kept the accessories simple with some great statement earrings and peep-toe heels - it was the perfect transitional outfit!”
More details on Priyanka's outfit

Gurpreet Talwar of Moda Ninja
“As a part of my 'upcyle, reuse, reinvent' goal of 2016, I am trying to contain my 'bursting from the seams' wardrobe. Luckily, I found this ruffled blouse in my closet, which I bought years ago from a high street brand - Forever New. As we approach spring, I've been thinking blush pinks and pastels, so I paired the blouse with my favorite blush culottes and faux fur jacket. The favorite piece from my own outfit is a multi color, ruffled sling by Philly based designer, Simitri Designs. I love working and collaborating with local artists and designers and try to incorporate something local in all my outfits!”
Kelsey McKee of BellsxWhistles
“I really tried to focus my top (Zara) around current/upcoming trends – ruffles, statement sleeves, and gingham print. I paired the top with my favorite pair of distressed denim (Urban Outfitters) and a metallic neck scarf (Forever 21) for a little pop and excitement.”
Kelsey's Details
From left to right: EM Ricchini, Sarah Moore, me

EM Ricchini of Lark and Lace
“As a plus-sized woman, I have to be careful with my ruffles, because they can get REAL unflattering REAL quick. Since I love a good statement sleeve, I decided to rock some arm ruffles. I kept the rest of the look simple: some palazzo pants and simple white shoes. (Oh, and a bucket bag, because they’re always a great option.)”
More from EM

Sarah Moore of Smoorelovin
“For my ruffles, I went with a low-cut top and layered it with a loose, flowy wrap. I paired this with my Show Me Your MuMu Flares, a closet staple for me. I bought these when flare pants were just becoming trendy again, and I haven't taken them off since. Never underestimate the power of a trend to become a staple. To finish the look off, I wore a thin gold lariat necklace with a gold choker. Choosing delicate accessories let the ruffles and flares shine, while pulling everything together.”

“My super fun party dress (Keepsake You Will) is from one of my favorite boutiques, The Geisha House (Old City). I fell in love with this dress, as soon as I saw it online, and new I had to add it to my wardrobe. I kept my shoes and jewelry simple, so I could allow the dress (and those glorious sleeves) really shine, however, if you’re wearing this to a wedding or a party, by all means, go for some fabulous heels!”
Sunday, June 4, 2017

Bloggers Who Brunch (at Butcher Bar)

I am a big fan of brunch, and I think that if you don't like brunch, we can't be friends. I mean, what's not to like - there are always sweet and savory options, and you have an excuse to drink prosecco before noon, and no one can judge you for it!

Recently, I had the pleasure of dining during my favorite meal of the week with some of my fellow PHLbloggers at the oh so yummy, Butcher Bar. If you haven't been to Butcher Bar yet, you need to go. There is indoor and outdoor seating, the decor is wonderfully on point, and the food is delicious! Our server was also very patient and understanding of us when we needed to take some (ok, maybe not some...more like a lot of) pictures, especially after we told him that we were bloggers. Also, huge shout out to our photographer, Julia Dent for our GORGEOUS photos!

Some of my yummy food - beets and goat cheese!

Every time our PHLbloggers group gets together for a photo shoot, we always have such a fun time together. At our last shoot, we decided that we should hang out, and I think it was Kelsey, who suggested that we plan a brunch attire shoot, so we could spend time together and take pictures too! Such a fun plan!

Our stylish group with our different interpretations of brunch attire! 

Our "judgement free" zone!

As a fashion lover and a personal stylist, I really love the range in styles that everyone chose for this shoot. That's definitely what makes shooting with everyone so fun. They all bring their own style to every shoot, and somehow we end up still coordinating! 

Khoi of Gentleman Within 

Despite being the only guy at our shoot, Khoi fit in perfectly! His style incorporates classic and modern pieces with current trends as accents, and I love it. 

Outfit details
Button Down: Gap
Jeans: Uniqlo
Shoes: J.Crew
Shades: Sunny Rebel

Melissa of Skinny Affair

Melissa always has the cutest dresses, and this one from Free People is even cuter when you find out that it has pockets! 

Outfit details
Dress: Free People
Shoes: Similar

Gurpreet of Moda Ninja

Gurpreet's use of colors and textures in her outfits always impress me! The boldness in her selections matches her confidence, and you know just by looking at her, that she is a cool woman.

Outfit Details
Blouse: Express
Culottes: Banana Republic
Shoes: ASOS
Accessories: Fabindia & Aldo

Sarah of Smoorelovin

Sarah's outfit represents what I love about style. Let me explain. I have been very resistant to the overalls trend, but Sarah has officially proven me wrong! I love how she paired these edgy overalls with a very on trend off the shoulder top and vibrant accessories. Sarah's styling of the overalls make the excellent point that when it comes to trends, find the style that works best for you! It may require a little bit of searching, but it will be worth it!

Outfit Details
Shoes and Overalls: Free People
Top: Candy Shoppe
Bag: Sticks+Stones

Also, can we talk about her glorious bag from Sticks+Stones? I never thought I could ever love a backpack that much.

Kelsey from Bellsxwhistles

Kelsey's look is easy, breezy, summer, sunshine, and I love it. Yellow has become one of my favorite colors, and it looks gorgeous on Kelsey! Her layered, delicate necklaces and aviators elevate a sundress, and make it perfect for brunch in the city.

Outfit Details
Dress: Forever 21
Sandals: American Eagle
Bag and Sunnies: Free People
Necklaces: Urban Outfitters 

Chelsea from Organized Mess

Love the details in Chelsea's dress from The Geisha House! The lace up bodice with the high slit is done in such a fun, girly way! Her neutral bag and hat add classic elements to her trendy dress! 

Outfit Details
Shoes: Lost+Found
Hat: Topshop
Sunglasses: Loft

And then there's me!

I took the advice of a few fellow bloggers that I met at The Blog Connect Conference, and decided to actually keep my glasses on for a photo shoot for once. I was told to embrace my inner nerd, and see what happens. So, here we go! Here's me, feminine, nerdy, lots of tattoos, modern style accessories, and totally rockin' a floral boho dress from Haute Mama.  (Side note: anyone in central/south jersey and Philly, let me take you over to Haute Mama ASAP! Valerie has the cutest clothes and accessories there - perfect for summer!!)

Show off as much or as little of your personality to the world as you choose. Despite being a blogger, I consider myself a private person to most people, but I allow my tattoos and my fashion choices to speak about me instead. This way, when you do get to know me, you can understand me through what I'm wearing. Being a personal stylist, I like to help my clients in that same way.

Because, after all, you do you, boo.

Outfit Details:
Dress: Haute Mama
Earrings: Target
Glasses: Guess
Shoes: Sam Edelman
Sunnies: Anthropologie