I like the night life baby – let’s go!

I was driving around in Mustang Sally the other day and the Cars came on the radio singing “Let’s Go!”. I loved that song when I was a teenager. I’m always ready to go and have a good time. I love the night life baby – Love the day life too. Living in FL there is so much to do on any given day. The weather doesn’t stop us from being outside, enjoying the sun and sand and water. It’s a great life so “Let’s Go!”

Things to do: Speaking of the Cars…This weekend is a big one here in Florida with the Daytona 500 on Sunday. If you’re a racing fan this is a must see. I’m hoping Danika Patrick shows all those NASCAR guys what a woman is made of. I’d love to see her beat out Jeff Gordon and make history for women. That would be extraordinary. For more information visit http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com

If you can’t make it to Daytona then you can see all the action up close on your TV. To get in the mood you could watch “Talladega Nights” and  Ricky Bobby (aka Will Ferrell) will have you “shake and bake!”

The Oscars are this Sunday Feb. 24th, and there will be fashion, red carpets, golden statues, and celebrities to feed our Hollywood infatuation. Here in Tampa we have an Oscars viewing and party at the Tampa Theater on Franklin Street. It’s a good time and a great excuse to get dressed up and party like a celeb. Visit http://www.tampatheatre.org for more information. I’ll be tweeting all about the red carpet fashion so make sure you follow me on Twitter @bobbiekingsbury

On Saturday February 23rd it’s the Reeve’s Charity Polo Classic. If you love Polo, horses and the beautiful landscaping of Plant City, FL then you’ll love the Charity Polo Classic. John Walsh said “you’ll think you’re in the Hamptons.” Giddy Up! For more information go to http://www.charitypoloclassic.com

Wicked Cool websites: I am often surfing the web, reading blogs, and checking out social media. I came across “Pave” via http://www.UpWorthy.com on Face Book.  This website http://www.pave.com connects entrepreneurs with financial backers in a different way than http://www.Kickstarter.com or http://www.indiegogo.com. If you are an innovator, creative type, dreamer, goal setter, life changer – visit one of these cool websites and get the backing you deserve.

Speaking of backing cool projects – My friends at the Black & Denim Apparel Co. are holding a Kickstarter campaign and they would love your support. Please visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2146408518/black-and-denim-american-made-jeans-and-apparel-fr?ref=live and donate to their cause.

Another Cool website you’ll want to check out is http://www.dealchicken.com. It’s a national site, but I subscribe to the Tampa Bay area deal chicken emails. It’s kinda like Groupon or Living Social. You get deals on restaurants and cool things to do in your neck of the woods. If you love going out but hate spending too much then you’ll love this site. Cool stuff, wicked cheap.

Favorite things: One of my favorite finds is the ELF nail polish remover pads. They are the best nail polish remover pads I’ve ever used! They are $2.00 for a little round bin that fits easily in your purse. They smell great, work like no others I’ve found, and moisturize your nails while removing your old polish. No offensive odors so you can even take care of your nails while at work, on the train, or where ever.  You can find ELF products at Target, K Mart and online at http://www.eyeslipsface.com

Being from Massachusetts originally, I am in love with the site http://www.backtobeantown.com because they sell apparel that is specific to sports, phrases and all things Boston and Mass. I just ordered a couple of tee shirts for my daughter and I that say “Boston girls are a wicked piece of Mass”. I cannot wait to get that little package in the mail! I’m wicked excited!

The Immaculate Baking Company cookies are wicked good. No yucky high fructose corn syrup or ingredients you can’t pronounce. It’s as close to home made as you can get without all the mess and clean up. They are sold at better grocery stores in the refrigerated aisles. I get mine at Publix. You can check them out at http://www.immaculatebaking.com My favorite flavor is the ginger cookies but my kids love the chocolate chip and the sugar cookies best.

Melissa’s Crepes also make the favorite list. These are sold in the grocery stores, already made for ya. You get 10 paper thin crepes in each package and they are so great for quick easy meals or snacks. My daughter Dalia is a vegetarian so I make her crepes everyday for lunch. I will take 2 of the crepes and layer (since they are so thin). I spread with Nutella and add either sliced fresh pears, strawberries or bananas and roll up. I also do almond butter (we have peanut allergies) with sliced apples. Sometimes I even drizzle a little honey over the apples. She loves it! These crepes are great for savory snacks too. Make scrambled eggs with diced peppers, onions and cheese and roll into the crepes and oooo la la. Merci beaucoup Melissa 🙂 http://www.melissas.com

 

I wish you all a fun and happy weekend. Whether you’re up to your ears in snow or sinking your toes in the sand I hope you go out and make the most of it. Happy Friday eve friends. Hope to see you out and about this weekend.

 

This Valentine’s Day love thyself

I have not celebrated Valentine’s Day in YEARS. I think it is one of the most over-rated holidays of the year. Really! Even when I was married I didn’t expect my husband to send me flowers or get me chocolates. I wanted him to show me he loved me every day, not just on a token Hallmark holiday. I wanted flowers for no reason, not because other people would see how special I was if I received a dozen roses at my workplace. Honestly, I am shocked at how many women get really depressed on Valentine’s Day because they are single. Even worse are the women who have a significant other and are still depressed because he didn’t do “enough” or do what she wanted or expected. I’ve heard the boasting from women who have “the best” husband/boyfriend/significant other and I’ve heard the complaints from the women who were disappointed in getting an appliance instead of a diamond. All I can say is if you measure how much you are loved by this one day of the year you have bigger problems than I can address here in this blog.

But I am not here to judge my friends. I’m here to empower women! I am here to give you the advice I live by – and I am one happy gal. I am happy to be single. I see the joy in sharing love with my friends and family and I never focus on lack, only abundance. So if you are a single girl like me, but you’re not as mentally stable as me, and you’re feeling low then here are some ways to feel better this Valentine’s Day.

1. Treat yourself to a manicure/pedicure! Enhancing your appearance in these small ways really makes a big impact. I painted my own nails and toes last night. I used Sally Hanson’s “Kooka Mango” #450 and it’s such a happy coral color. I smile when I look down at my feet. My hands look great too 🙂

2. Get in a great workout. Being a strong, fit woman is much better for your self-esteem than receiving roses and chocolates – and the benefits last longer than flowers that die in a week. Exercise is known to release endorphins which make you feel good! So get out there and lift some weights, do some yoga or Pilates, or take a walk. Get fit, get strong.

3. Watch a female empowering movie instead of a sappy love story. I’m sorry ladies but I do not eat the crap sandwich that most movie makers are serving up. I find it hard to believe that the only way a girl can be happy is if she is in love, married and making babies. That’s a load of hog wash. I want to see a movie where a woman is successful and not portrayed as a bitch. I want to see a woman who is portrayed as happy and single who goes to concerts and travels and has drinks and dances with her friends and isn’t a hot mess emotionally. I know lots of single ladies who make their own money, buy their own cars, homes and designer goods. They don’t need a man to do all that for them. They are not bitches either. They are smart, successful and funny. Where is our movie??? Until the movie makers start making movies that reflect real women we have to watch what is out there. Why not watch a movie where a woman kicks ass? “Charlie’s Angels” is a good one. “Brave” is even better. Ditch the movies where women are portrayed as pathetic losers until they snag the man that completes them. Repudiate the movies where women are portrayed as bitches if they are successful. Watch a documentary like “Miss Representation”. You’ll feel better and maybe you’ll be inspired to write to film makers and demand movies that portray women as strong, brave and successful.

4. Take a long bubble bath and relax. How much time do we actually take to just chill out and relax? As a single mother of 3 beautiful children I hardly have a moment to myself. I don’t get a change to take a bubble bath that often. I don’t have a bath that I can relax in where I currently live. That sucks because I love a good bubble bath. When I lived in homes that had garden style tubs I loved to soak in the tub and forget my worries for a bit. If you have an awesome tub get in there! Fill it up, light some candles and just relax. Let the worries of the day melt away.

5. Treat yourself to a massage. I love massages. They are so amazing. I always feel refreshed after a good massage. Hot stone massages are my favorite. Make sure you communicate well with your therapist about the type of pressure you like. Too much can make you feel beat up, and not enough can make you feel jipped. Fulfilling our sense of touch is essential to good living. Just as much as tasting a good meal, listening to good music, seeing a beautiful work of art or smelling the roses. Don’t leave your sense of touch out of the mix. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

6. Plant your own flowers. Why buy overpriced flowers on VD when you can plant some perennials and enjoy blooms all year long? When I lived up north I had a beautiful garden full of flowers. I haven’t done much gardening since moving to Florida, but I really miss having fresh flowers in my home all the time. I grew dahlias, roses, peonies, hydrangea, hyacinth, blue grape hyacinth, bleeding hearts, Queen Anne’s lace, phlox, echinacea, day lilies, stargazer lilies, oriental lilies, azaleas, rhododendrons, tulips, iris, daffodils, and more. I had flowers blooming often and I would cut them and bring them in the house. I loved the colors and the scents. It made me happy. If you don’t have a green thumb, buy yourself some flowers. Or buy someone you love flowers. More joy in giving than receiving.

7. Share love with your friends and family. I take time each day to tell my friends and family how much I love and care for them. I don’t wait until a special occasion like Valentine’s Day to show my love and appreciation. Take the time each day to tell someone special how they make you feel. Tell them why they are important to you. Sometimes we think our friends and loved ones just know – but maybe they need to hear it. I have found that the more love I give away, the more love I get in return.

8. Fill your mind with good things. Each day I read blogs that are empowering, educational, inspirational and funny. I read scriptures from the Bible. I fill my mind with positive images and positive thoughts. I pray a gratitude prayer every day. I thank God for the abundance in my life. I never focus on the lack. That is not to say that I live on fantasy island or that I never have a negative thought. The difference is that I don’t dwell on it. I let it go. I don’t watch negative programming like court shows or shows that highlight criminal minds or processes. I focus on the positive and most of the time I feel very happy and positive. Turn that frown upside down and start listing all the things you’re thankful for in this life. Sometimes the simplest things are the things that make me happy – like a hot shower or the birds at my feeder chirping a happy song.

9. Spend time with friends and people that make you smile. Surround yourself with people that have your true interests at heart. If you’re hanging around people or even family that don’t support your dreams and goals then it’s time to find a new circle of influence. There are lots of frenemies out there who claim to be your friend but really just want to sabotage your success. Eliminate negative people from your circle of trust. We all need friends that are honest and keep us in check, but if your friends are constantly putting you down then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

10. Buy yourself something really good. You deserve a treat! Maybe it’s as simple as a new lipstick, or maybe it’s a vacation to a tropical paradise. What ever your budget allows make sure you treat yourself to something awesome. Why wait for your significant other to buy you a diamond bracelet if that is really what your heart desires? If it’s designer shoes you crave, why not go get those Jimmy Choo’s? There are lots of things you can do for yourself and there comes a certain pride from earning the money to buy your own things. I appreciate things I’ve gotten for myself much more than things that were handed to me. I know the hard work and sweat equity that went into making the purchase. So if you can afford it, buy yourself something good. Why not? You probably deserve it.

This Valentine’s Day – as with any day of the year – I wish my friends LOVE, PEACE, HAPPINESS and good fashion. Make today great my fellow fashionistas. Don’t settle for less than complete happiness. Fill your mind and soul with good things. Spread cheer where ever you go.

Good girls write in diaries, bad girls don’t have time…and other fun stuff

There is a saying that “good girls keep diaries and bad girls don’t have time”. To me, blogging is just a notch above keeping an online diary. As a kid I used to wish for ESP (the ability to read minds – in case I have to dumb it down). Now all I have to do is read someone’s online blog or social media posts to see what they are thinking. You can certainly see what is on a person’s mind by their social media rants. That’s probably the downside of ESP that I never thought of.

I haven’t really had the time to blog lately. It’s not that I’m at a loss for words. Anyone who knows me personally knows I’m never at a loss for words. I’ve just been so busy. I haven’t been “bad”, I just haven’t had time to write it all down. The other day I was thinking about how many times I’m asked about the places I go to eat and shop and spend time. I have friends and acquaintances and clients that ask me where is the best place to go for certain things. They will call me, text me, and email me. I figured why not write this stuff down?

Here are some recommendations for the weekend if you are looking for things to keep you busy. Keep in mind that I live in Tampa Bay so many of my recommendations will be for this area, but you can customize to where you live.

1. See this: The Florida Orchestra presents “Broadway Now!” at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. The FO will be performing Broadway musical hits from some of the most beloved shows such as Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, and Jersey Boys. This is going to be great. For more information on upcoming shows and tickets visit http://www.strazcenter.org

2. Drink this: I only drink 3 things really. Water, coffee and red wine. Sometimes I have a nice cup of tea. My favorite tea this winter has been Egg Nog tea. Super yummy. I love to drink pink colored drinks because I love the color pink. It’s a happy color. So here is one of my favorite drinks at Starbucks…but it’s not on the menu. Try an iced chai latte with raspberry syrup. I drink mine with 2 pumps of raspberry (the normal amount is 4 pumps, but I don’t like it too sweet) and I use soy milk instead of  cow’s milk. It’s super yummy and it’s a beautiful dark pink color. You can also try an iced chai with toffee syrup or cinnamon dolce. Wicked good. Cheers!

3. Eat this: My daughter is vegetarian so I am always looking for good meat alternatives. My two boys and I love meat so it’s usually pretty disappointing when we try “meat” alternatives. The food industry is really trying to come up with some great alternatives to meat and they usually involve soy. But if you’ve got a vegetarian who isn’t crazy about soy then it’s an issue. Recently at Whole Foods I found a pre-packaged “burger” mix that was made from oats and quinoa. It was BBQ flavor, but they come in 12 yummy flavors. Joe’s Oat Patties are delish! One package cost me about $7 but it was super easy to make (just add hot water to mix and make like regular burgers) and I got 6 patties out of one mix. Not bad! Want more information? Go to http://www.joesoatpatties.com or facebook.com/lovethoseoatpatties

4. Watch this: Soul Pancake is one of my favorite new obsessions. It was started by Rainn Wilson (AKA “Dwight” on “The Office”) and he asks soul-searching questions and makes you think about the deeper things – all while being wicked funny. Oprah Winfrey loves Soul Pancake too, and airs the show on her OWN cable  network. Soul Pancake also has a You Tube channel. I highly recommend subscribing. Some of the videos will make you laugh and others will move you to tears. One of my favorite SP peeps is “Kid President” also known as KP. Kid President is trying to make the world a more awesome place. Funny –  so am I. Make it a point to watch Soul Pancake on the OWN network, subscribe to SP on YouTube, and then enjoy all the thought-provoking questions and videos. Visit http://www.soulpancake.com . You’re welcome!

5. Listen to this: I love music. Absolutely LOVE music. The best gift someone could give me would be music in any form – A concert, an iTunes gift card, a new CD of an upcoming band…I just love music. Over the summer I bought the Gotye “Making Mirrors”, the Justin Bieber (don’t judge) “Believe”, the Maroon 5 “Over Exposed”  and the Jimmy Fallon “Blow Your Pants Off” CD’s. I love them all! Recently Starbucks gave me a free single download of Bruno Mars song “If I Knew” for being a card holder/loyal customer. I love Bruno Mars. I love this new single. I went on iTunes and got to listen to clips of the rest of the songs on the “Unorthodox Jukebox” CD and I think I’m going to download the rest of the songs. It’s so good. You can listen to clips of all his songs on iTunes. Do it.

6. Make this: Immunity Smoothie! Flu season is in full swing and here in Florida so is allergy season. I have been pretty darn healthy (knock on wood) for the whole season and I don’t get vaccinations. (Don’t judge or send hate mail or leave snarky comments please). What I do just about every day is make an immunity smoothie for me and my kids. It’s wicked yummy and so good for you. Take about 8 oz. of juice – up to your personal preference as to the kind. I use V8 V-Fusion blends like Acai mixed berry. You could also use any kind of milk or water if you don’t want the sugar from juice. So 8 0z. of liquid 🙂 blend with frozen berries or fruit of your choice. I use frozen blueberries or mixed berry blend. I use about 1/2 cup of frozen berries (if you use fresh berries then add more ice). Berries are high in antioxidants and are super foods. Blueberries are alkaline foods so they are cancer fighting. Sometimes I add a 1/2 of a fresh banana if I have one. Add about 1/2 cup of yogurt of your choice. If you’re on the Greek yogurt bandwagon then add that. For my vegan friends I love to use almond or coconut or soy yogurt in place of regular yogurt. Then add your greens. I use a scoop of powdered greens when I have it. Otherwise I use frozen spinach. Fresh baby kale is good too. Kale is an anti inflammatory food so it’s great if you’re retaining water. Just pop in a handful. Add a few ice cubes and 1 TBSP of flax seeds (high in omega 3). Puree in a blender and enjoy. This makes a great breakfast replacement or an afternoon snack.

7. Do this: Take a walk outside! Get off the treadmill (weather permitting) and take in the sunshine and fresh air. We are lucky enough to live in the sunshine state so go get some natural Vitamin D. We have Bayshore Blvd. here in Tampa bay with 4.5 miles of uninterrupted sidewalk along the water. It’s breathtaking! Many people take advantage of it. There are runners and roller bladers, bikers, walkers and people out for a leisurely stroll with their pets or their kids. We also have great parks here in Tampa bay. Two of my absolute favorites are Cypress Point Park and Curtis Hixon Park. Cypress Point is a hidden gem that not many people know about. It has covered pavilions, a small beach, a beautiful walking trail with wild flowers and tall grasses, BBQ grills, a pretty clean public restroom, and lots of open grass and space with picnic tables all through the park. Ample FREE parking too! My neighbor and I walk there all the time. Curtis Hixon Park is downtown and is wide open with a river walk, a playground, large open spaces and an amphitheater. There are concerts that take place here too. It’s family and pet friendly and it’s next door to two great museums. The Tampa Museum of Art and the Glazer Children’s Museum. The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA) is within walking distance too. Awesome cultural experiences and a view of UT. Not too shabby. For more information on the parks go to http://www.tampagov.net/parks

8. Read this: I love reading. I used to volunteer at a library. I love books. I still have actual books (not an e-reader) and bookshelves full of books. I also love magazines and online blogs. One of my favorite new blogs is “Hello Giggles” http://www.hellogiggles.com. It’s funny, witty, entertaining and there are great how-to videos. I also LOVE “The Daily Love” by Mastin Kipp. http://www.thedailylove.com. He is not just about motivation. He is candid and honest and asks the deeper questions. He has cool guest bloggers too. I read it everyday and I post the “visual inspiration” to FB. I’m spreading the love. Better than spreading the cold virus. If you read lots of blogs (like I do) then you can get them all categorized and sent to your inbox through Bloglovin.com. If you’re a magazine fan like I am then some of my favorite mags are fashion focused. (Big surprise!) I get Marie Claire and InStyle delivered to my door. I also pick up Lucky Mag and Vanity Fair on the regular. For local magazines I love Panache Vue and Tampa Bay Metro. Panache Vue will mail you a copy for free. You can also view online. If you like hard cover books like I do, you should read anything by Malcolm Gladwell. I don’t read much fiction, so you won’t find me with a “Fifty Shades of Gray” in my hand anytime soon. I love “The Tipping Point” by Gladwell but I also recently read “The Outliers” and “Blink”. All good. While you’re lounging in the park (see suggestions above) you can read a good book.

9. Wear this: A dress! One of my favorite wardrobe staples is the DRESS. You know what’s good about a dress? You put it on, you’re dressed. No worries about does this skirt match this shirt, etc. All the work is done for you. Top and bottom all in one. There are dresses for every occasion (you can read some of my other blogs about this topic). Sundresses, day dresses, cocktail dress, Little Black Dress (LBD), gowns and formal dresses, wedding/bridesmaid dresses, convertible multi-way dresses, maxi dresses, mini dresses…so many options! If I’m shopping at the farmer’s market I might slip on a sundress. Lunch with the girls? Day dress. Dinner date? Cocktail dress. After work cocktails? Little Black Dress. You get the point. You get a lot of mileage out of a dress. A good fashion/wardrobe stylist like me can tell you which dress is the best for your body type.

10. Look at this: Cute pictures of animals and babies are proven to enhance our moods. So when you see your friends posting a picture of puppies, kitties, and babies doing adorable stuff – stop and take a minute to look at it and enjoy it. If you don’t smile immediately and feel better, even for a second, something is definitely wrong with you.

11. Try this: Go to a new place you’ve never been before. Each week or each month try something new. A new restaurant or a new museum or catch a new show at your local theater company. Try a new night club or a new bar and ask if they have any new or specialty drinks. Try out a new local boutique. Shop small business and support local biz owners. Make a new friend or rekindle and old friendship and make it new again. Take a class at a local home improvement, craft or fabric store. Many places offer Saturday classes that teach a new skill such as planting a flower box, kids crafts and sewing or quilting. I love learning about new places and foods and drinks and clothes. I love learning new skills and over the years have taken pottery classes, sewing classes, jewelry making classes, rubber stamping classes, scrap booking classes, gardening classes, re-upholstering classes, and more. My friend Karyn and I are going to take some cooking classes soon. I won a certificate to a cooking school called “The Rolling Pin”. Can’t wait to see what lies ahead. Some things I have stuck with (like sewing) and other things I have left behind (like furniture re-upholstering) – but I always enjoyed the process.

12. Enjoy this: Free  and nearly stuff is all around us and with a little digging we can find it and reap the rewards. Aveda retail shops and salons will usually give you a free aromatherapy treatment or hand massage. Mary Kay ladies will treat you to free facial products to try and will instruct you on how to use them. The Fresh Market, Publix, Whole Foods and many other stores that sell prepared or deli food will let you sample their foods so you know you like it before you buy a pound of it. Speaking of Publix – the Greenwise Publix on Azeele/Armenia has free wine tastings every Saturday from 4-7pm. Taste wines from all over the world. They have great BOGO specials on wines that other Publix stores don’t have. Total Wines on N. Dale Mabry Hwy. usually does a wine tasting on Saturdays as well. Bottoms up!  Love Chocolate? Many chocolatiers will give samples to try. My fave places in Tampa are Schakolad on S. Howard Ave, Toffee to Go on Bay to Bay Blvd., and Godiva Chocolates in the International Plaza Mall.  Is there a new gym opening in your area? There are here in Tampa! Orange Theory Fitness and LA Fitness just opened up nearby. That’s in addition to the 20+ other gyms within a 5 mile radius of my house. These gyms have sent me coupon mailers for a free week at their gyms just to try it out. I also have a coupon for a free personal training session. Many personal trainers will offer you a free session if you ask nicely and show a sincere interest in purchasing a training package down the road. Birthday freebies abound! Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Sephora, Moe’s Mexican, and many more will give you a free item, meal or drink on your birthday. All you have to do is join their email list or loyalty card club. AllYou.com has free samples on their website all the time. You can try out everything from eye cream to laundry detergent. There are other coupon and freebie sites out there too. Do a little online research and you too can enjoy new things for FREE!

Well there you have it. I will try to do more lists for you. If you are a friend of mine on FB, foursquare or follow me on Twitter you’ll see many of the places I go and things that I do. This weekend I’m going to try something new, go places I’ve not been in a while, and enjoy the sunshine. I hope you all have a great weekend too!

 

 

 

 

Everyone has a “uniform” – get yours for a fraction of the cost.

Many years ago I wrote a paper in college about how everyone has a “uniform” in the sense that you can tell what a person does for a living or what kind of lifestyle a person leads by the clothes they wear. It’s easy to tell if someone is a police officer, fireman, UPS or FedEx delivery man since they have a very distinct uniform. Think about this for a moment – You can tell a librarian from a prostitute by their uniform too. While there isn’t a conventional “uniform” for these professions you certainly can tell one from the other, and you can tell someone who prefers the Librarian look over the Lady of the Night look.

As I was working in the shop the other day a customer came in and spoke of how her “uniform” is pencil skirts and structured pieces. I was thrilled to hear someone else mimic my sentiments on how everyone chooses their fashion style or uniform thru the clothes they wear. She told me that she loves shopping at consignment shops because you can often find your “uniform” at one of these places easier than you can at a traditional department store or mall store. This is because those places carry items that are trending right now. If Bohemian chic is the trend of the moment then that is what you’ll find at  most mall stores. But what if Bohemian isn’t your “uniform” of choice? A consignment shop, like Designer Consignment Fresh Threads in south Tampa, carries a variety of styles and silhouettes that might not be readily available at the mall and department stores.

You’ll find many different styles and silhouettes there – from classic to contemporary. There are so many different fashion choices to browse through that you’re sure to find something that fits your style and aesthetic. Consignment shops are a great way to get your staple pieces like denim or little black dresses. Shopping there will also help you add to your trendy pieces without breaking the bank. Trendy pieces aren’t meant to last in the fashion scene very long like classic pieces are, but if you love to keep on trend you can do it at a fraction of the cost if you shop consignment. Prices tend to be 50-80% off regular retail prices.

Consignment shops are also a great way to get quality brand name items at a fraction of the cost. Sometimes it’s true that you get what you pay for. When you buy cheap clothing at a throw away store like Forever 21, you don’t expect those items to last. When you pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for a handbag or shoes you expect those items to stand the test of time. A consignment store like Fresh Threads carries quality items at a fraction of the original retail price that will stand the test of time. A good consignment boutique like Fresh Threads only carries “gently loved” items that don’t show many signs of wear or use from the previous owner. Many items that come in still have the tags on them. The items may be “last season” but in Florida there isn’t much change from season to season so we can still wear sundresses in the fall even if they were at their peak in the summer.

Whatever your uniform of choice – whether you be a Jackie O or a Marilyn, Boho chic or Wall Street Exec, you can find your perfect pieces at a consignment shop like Fresh Threads. If you’re in the South Tampa area, please stop by and see me. I’d love to hear all about your personal style and help you find an outfit that makes you feel like a star.

Earning your stripes!

So many times I am asked why I have a “no horizontal stripes” rule for clothes. My answer is always the same. Horizontal stripes make you look heavier. Plain and simple. Want to look fatter? Wear stripes. Just like wearing black is slimming, wearing horizontal stripes makes the eye move from left to right and makes you look wider.

But they are so cute, right? So trendy! So how do you wear your favorite pattern without looking like you’ve had too much lunch? Wear the right kind of stripes!

  1. Chevron stripes are the ones that come to a “V” at the seam, and look lovely on a variety of body types.
  2. Vertical stripes and pin stripes. These work because the eye moves up and down and they eye is even fooled into seeing you as taller.
  3. The diagonal stripe is another acceptable stripe. The eye is drawn down, not across so these stripes work.
If you absolutely have to wear stripes because you love them so much, here are a few tips and tricks to make it work.
  1. Break up the width of the striped top (or dress) by putting a solid colored blazer or sweater over it. That way only a small portion of the stripes are seen which will fool the eye.
  2. Wear a solid colored belt over the striped top (or dress) thereby breaking up the pattern a bit – Best worn at your waist to accentuate it.
  3. If you’re wearing black and white stripes (and you’re not in jail) add fun, chunky, colorful jewelry on top of it – like red.
  4. Wear horizontal stripes that don’t have a big color difference. For instance, dark blue on blue, or cream on tan, light pink on dark pink, etc.
  5. Add horizontal stripes to a part of your body that you want to look bigger. For instance, if you want your bust to appear larger, wear horizontal stripes across your bust as seen in the picture below.
I’ve added a pictures of acceptable stripes and an acceptable way of wearing horizontal stripes. I hope you find this visual helpful.
If you follow these simple rules you’ll earn a gold star to wear with your fabulous stripes 🙂

Going Red for Women and Awareness

When I was in school at IADT, the American Heart Association of St. Petersburg came and spoke about Heart Disease and told us it was the Number 1 killer among women – more than all cancers combined! They brought survivors that came and spoke to us, and that was the day I met Susan Persons Hopkins – an incredible woman and an inspiring survivor, and Kate Sawa, Communications Director of the AHA. They spoke to the fashion students about a project called the “Red Dress Project” in which we could design an original red dress that would be featured in a fashion show at their annual heart luncheon. This happened in October 2007, and I had just lost my mother to a bi-lateral stroke (heart disease) in September 2007. The survivors stories inspired me at a time when I was deep in my own despair from losing my mother. I wanted to be involved in order to honor my mother and other women who live and survive heart disease. My mother had survived her heart disease for several years before succumbing to it in 2007. I submitted my sketches along with many other designers, and was chosen as one of the 14 designers to participate in the Red Dress Project. I still talk to many of the designers that were part of the project with me. They are pictured here with me at IADT. We really became close and bonded through this project. Many of them had been affected by heart disease in some way as well. We were all paired with Survivors, and my survivor was a 60 year old African American woman, Helen Morris, that was a stroke survivor. She had been a boutique owner in New Orleans for many years before coming to Florida. She had an amazing story of survival and I was so happy to get to know her.

The design that was chosen out of all of my sketches was a 2 piece suit. I made the jacket out of red raw silk and the skirt out of chiffon. Our designs were featured in the Heart Luncheon in May 2008 and that was just the beginning of my journey with the American Heart Association. Since my first meeting with Kate Sawa, Communications and Media director of the AHA here in the Tampa area I have gotten involved with their Go Red for Women Campaigns. I did my first TV interview in February 2008 on how my family and I eat and stay heart healthy. I’ve done other interviews on how to fashionably “Go Red”. I did a PSA for the “Speak Up” campaign in 2010.  I have joined in the fun of every “Go Red” day since 2008. In 2011 I joined the “Passion Committee” which helps raise awareness about checking your critical numbers such as your blood pressure, cholesterol numbers, BMI, fasting blood sugar, and weight. I am pictured below at the 2011 Tampa Oscars at the Tampa Theatre with Susan Hopkins and other members of the Passion Committee. What a fun night that was!

I have been committed to heart health since losing my mother to heart disease. I am trying to make something good come out of something so devastating. My mother was only 59 years old when she passed away. I have designed an entire line called “InspiRED” since the red dress project. One of the pieces is pictured on the beautiful model Janelle DuVaul.

This Friday, February 3rd 2012 is national Go Red Day. I will be joining the AHA at Curtis Hixton Park in downtown Tampa for another speak up station and encouraging all to Go Red for Women. We will be joined by a few of the Tampa Bay Lightning players and the hottest Firemen in Tampa – our first responders in an emergency situation.

80% of all heart disease is preventable. Get moving! Eat healthy! Know your numbers! Don’t wait. Now is the time to really know your risks and make improvement toward heart health.

One way that you can “Go Red” is to log onto the website http://www.GoRedForWomen.org or http://www.GoRedCorazon.org and get heart healthy recipes, find ways to join in the movement at work or at school and know the warning signs. The life you save may be that of a loved one, or your own.

Fashion as inspiration, motivation and influence…

Fashion is influential, motivational and powerful. Fashion is more than pure aesthetics. Fashion has the power to influence thoughts and actions. It motivates people to act and treat others in a certain way. It’s powerful because fashion, whether stylish or not, is an integral part of our lives. The fashion industry is very competitive and ever changing. As a fashion designer in Tampa, FL I face many challenges to “make it”. However, even if I never become the next DVF, I am still in love with the power and prowess of fashion.

Fashion is influential. Whether you know it or not the clothes you wear, in the colors you wear them, have been thoughtfully executed by the people in the fashion industry way before you ever see them in a store or online. It’s not happenstance that you are wearing the styles that you are. The process of design starts years before the clothes hit the shelves. The colors, fabrics, textures, prints, patterns and even the sizes have been plotted, developed and executed two to three years out. Even if you don’t consider yourself a fashion conscious person, you still play a role in the process. Fashion trickles down from the designers to the runway to the knock-offs to the retail outlets. You may not even be aware of how influenced you are, but if you go shopping for clothes you have to buy what is available in ready-to-wear. Those designs are the direct result of the people who work in the industry who are dictating what is hot, trendy and marketable. Every item of clothing that anyone puts on – from the onesie on a baby to the gown on an actress at the Oscar’s – has been put into this world by those of us in the fashion industry. You are influenced by our thoughts and creativity every time you get dressed.

Fashion is motivational. We have all seen the woman with the new outfit on. She walks with a certain confidence. Maybe she has just lost weight, and her motivation was a pair of “skinny jeans”. She holds her head high. Clothing can be motivational when it comes to special occasions. Perhaps you are going on a cruise, to a reunion or attending a wedding. You will want to dress the part. It feels great to slip on that Little Black Dress (LBD) and hit the dance floor. When you look good, you feel good. In business it has been said that those who dress for success are successful. This is why many corporations have a dress code. A man dressed in a suit is taken seriously and perceived by others as successful. If that’s not motivation to dress to impress, I don’t know what is.

Fashion is powerful. We’ve all heard of the man that wears the “power tie” or the “power suit” when he is looking to rule the board room or the court room. Women can dress in a seductive way tht has a powerful effect on a man’s desires and affections towards her. The clothes we wear send a powerful message to the outside world. By our clothing people can tell the type of music we like, the occupation we have, the social and political stands we take, the era that we admire. Fashion can be used in all sorts of powerful ways. Fashion can be used to raise awareness for diseases. We wear pink in October to show we support breast cancer awareness month. I’m involved with the “Go Red for Women” movement with the American Heart Association and February is Go Red month with the first Friday being Go Red day. Fashion is used as a catalyst to raise awareness for all kinds of charities and I am happy to be a part of something so powerful.

Fashion is truly my passion and I love seeing how people use their fashion, their clothing, to send their messages out into the world. What is your fashion saying about you today? I’d love to hear your thoughts! fashionauthoritybobbie@gmail.comImage

Stylists – They’re not just for celebrities anymore

Recently I have seen a huge surge of people calling themselves “stylists”,  meaning fashion stylist. There aren’t any schools for stylists – not a lot of higher education when it comes to being a fashion stylist. Sure, there are some certifications you can get and some image consulting classes you can take – But is style learned? or is it a talent you were born with? I think it’s a little of  both. I believe it helps to have some interest in fashion and style inside, and as long as that seed is there, you can water it and make it grow. So what makes a good stylist? How do you know if you should hire one?

I have been a lover of all things fashion since childhood. When other kids were playing with their easy-bake oven or playing house, I was playing dress up with my paper dolls and my barbie dolls. I loved playing dress up in my mom’s closet and experimenting with her make-up. I would pretend I was Miss America or one of Charlie’s Angels. As a teenager my favorite thing to do was scour the fashion magazines for ideas on how to put outfits together. I was dreaming of the runways of Milan and Paris and New York. I loved the scene in “Pretty In Pink” where Molly Ringwald’s character makes her own prom dress out of two different dresses given to her. I was a fashion stylist in the making!

I’ve always had an interest in style and fashion and I fed that interest by watching TV shows, reading magazines and books, and doing activities that centered around style and fashion. As I got older I learned to sew, and then in my 30’s I got my degree in Fashion Design. Now I can create clothes and patterns of my own! I think that adds to my expertise when it comes to my stylist work.

So how did I begin as a stylist? I guess I’ve always been doing it in one way or another, I just wasn’t paid for it then like I am now. My friends have often come to me for style and fashion advice asking questions like “What should I wear to a night wedding?” or “What should I pack for my trip to Mexico?” or “How do accessorize with a scarf?” I spend countless hours researching fashion websites, reading fashion blogs and magazines, watching You Tube clips and watching what people are wearing on the street. I pay attention to details so you don’t have to. Fashion is my passion!

Years ago it used to be that only celebrities could afford fashion stylists, and they would hire them to help them dress for the red carpet or for TV interviews or magazine shoots. Today there are many women who want to look and feel their absolute best but they just haven’t cultivated that seed of fashion savvy. So what do they do? A smart woman hires a fashion stylist! Many women out there realize that ready-to-wear isn’t modeled after the average woman or the woman with curves. A fashion stylist will help you to know how to make ready-to-wear work for you…the secret is a good tailor or seamstress. A stylist will help you with the best silhouette for your body type. Should you wear pencil skirts? bubble skirts? mini-skirts? Is A-line flattering? or empire waist? Not only can your stylist explain these terms but she can tell you what fits and flatters your body type the best. A good stylist has knowledge of color theory and can tell you the best colors for your skin tone and hair color. 

As a stylist and fashion designer I have the wonderful privilege of dressing models and ” real women”. I know what works for TV and Print advertising as well as what works in the real world. If you have a high school reunion I can help you pick out your stunning outfit that is sure to impress your friends. Have a cruise coming up? Let’s pack the best outfits for your travel adventure. Getting married? You can use a stylist to help you pick out the perfect wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses. Making a TV appearance or red carpet event? Let your stylist dress you to the nines. You too can look like a celebrity without the costly price tag of paying for someone like Rachel Zoe. 

Most of all, I love educating my fashion clients. I go through their closets with them and make them try on every garment in their closet. This makes them re-connect with their clothes (yes, I’m a closet therapist!) and it helps them to understand why they gravitate towards certain items while neglecting others. If you haven’t worn something in a while there is a sub-conscious reason. Perhaps it’s too last season so you don’t want to look outdated but you paid too much for it so you can’t part with it. Sometimes our clothes just don’t look right on us but we can’t figure out what it is. That shirt might be super cute but if the seam line cuts across your chest in the wrong place, or if the arm length isn’t right on you it can ruin the whole look. If you have a fabulous skirt that is hot on the fashion trend but the hem line is wrong for your body type, you’ll never wear it and may not even realize why. In contrast, when something is just right for your body type you’ll feel great in it, you’ll get compliments from others when you wear it, and you’ll grab it every time – unconsciously. Your personal stylist can tell you why a garment works on you when you put it on. She can point out the reason something works or doesn’t work for your body type. 

I teach my clients what silhouettes, colors and styles look best on their body type. No more shopping for clothes that don’t fit and flatter. No more wasted money on clothes you’ll never wear. No more 80/20 rule. Most women wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. That’s a lot of clothes in your closet that aren’t getting the love and attention they deserve. My rule is that if you haven’t worn something in 6 months to a year (unless it’s truly seasonal like a winter coat or a bikini) then it needs to get out of your closet.

A lot of potential clients have reservations about hiring a fashion stylist thinking that either it’s too expensive (it isn’t) or that the stylist is just going to try and make you a little clone of themselves. I’m here to tell you that I am not trying to make your style a reflection of my style. I am here to help you reach your full style potential. If you work in corporate America I’m not going to have you dress like a cocktail waitress. If you’re a stay at home mom I’m not going to have you dressing in suits. Knowing the clients lifestyle, occupation, and hobbies all help when trying to help them create and maintain the perfect wardrobe. 

If you feel that you need some help getting the clutter out of your closet, making your old clothes feel new again, shop for the perfect outfit for your next occasion, or help getting your sassy back – send me a message. I am here to help you. Bobbie@thefashionauthority.com

Most of my clients either donate or re-sell their unwanted garments. So you can do good for others by donating or make your money back by re-selling or consigning. It’s a win-win situation! 

 

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Fashion for Every Body in 2012

It’s officially 2012 and many people are starting off the year with a good mindset. A positive attitude is essential to success. Why is it though, that people start off so strong and then fizzle out? Lack of planning? Lack of follow through? Whatever the case, don’t let your lack of fashion savvy be the killer of your goals and dreams.

Recently when speaking to a professional photographer that I had helped dress for an occasion he said “clothes really make a difference”. Really? I thought I was in this billion dollar industry for the fun of it. Of course clothes make a difference! Clothes are your message to the world about who you are. He had never given his fashion choices much thought, but when he dressed up a little he received compliments and attention he hadn’t gotten before. People treated him differently when he put a little more thought and effort into his clothing choices. He felt better, and people treated him better.

When you see a person dressed in a uniform, such as the UPS man or a police officer you don’t question what they do for a living, you just know. Their clothes give them away. Think of this: when you see a librarian or a woman of the night, they don’t wear a uniform per se, but you know what they do for a living too. Their clothes tell their story. You can tell if a person loves punk rock by their clothes. You can spot an athlete by their workout wear. You can identify someone who is liberal or conservative, classic or trendy – all by the clothes they wear.

So I pose this question – if you are a professional such as an insurance salesman or a real estate agent, is there a “uniform” for you? I have been to many networking meetings and social gatherings where people hand me their business cards and I’m shocked to find out they are in a professional industry because they look like slobs. If your clothes are stained or wrinkled, faded, or outdated  – what message are you sending to your clients or potential clients? If you can’t take enough time to press your garments and make sure they are clean, how can I trust you with my banking or insurance needs? If you are a landscaper I don’t expect to see you in a three-piece suit, but I do expect your polo and khakis to be clean and neat. If you’re an attorney, you should dress the part and be in a suit or conservative dress.

What you wear matters. It can make or break the confidence of the people who are “interviewing” you for a job or a date or their business. People want to do business with people that they know, like and trust. People are also drawn to people who look like they are successful – whether they really are or not. When meeting new people, like at a networking event or mixer, you want to dress your best while keeping in mind your profession and looking appropriate.

If you feel you have no clue about fashion or style, incorporate the help of a stylist like myself. Stylists give you the advice you need and won’t tell you what you want to hear if it means sacrificing style. If you need help, we’ll tell you without sugar-coating it. I don’t insult people either. I want you to feel good after a style session, not bad about yourself. I empower my clients with the knowledge of how to make better and appropriate wardrobe decisions. When you know what looks good on you, and what’s appropriate for the business you are in it makes it easier to go shopping and to get dressed.

Remember that your wardrobe sends a message about who you are, what you represent, and it lets people know whether they should take you seriously or not. If you want to step up your sales quota, or get that promotion, perhaps you should ask a stylist if you need some help when it comes to your style? You just might get that raise you deserve, the love you’ve been looking for, or the attention of someone who hasn’t noticed you before.

Clothes matter. Style is more important than mere fashion. Contact me to get a complimentary 1/2 hour consultation. Fashionauthoritybobbie@gmail.com

FALLing in love with fashion

Growing up in New England the weather was always growing cool and crisp by September. Leaves changing vibrant colors of orange and gold and in the air smells of apple pie and gingerbread. As days grow shorter and the nights get longer, the temperatures drop and we start to think of fuzzy sweaters and longer hemlines. I dream in cashmere!

Living in Florida the change in season doesn’t have the same impact. September is as hot as August. October isn’t much cooler. No leaves are falling or changing colors. The air just gets a little less humid and the temperatures drop slightly. Still, there is a constant longing for the autumn treasures that fashion presents to us. Beautiful palates of gold, pumpkin, chocolate brown, and copper. Fur lined jackets and boots, fuzzy scarves, beautiful blazers and sumptuous fabrics like wool and suitings are a few favorites. As the stores are stocking up on new fall merchandise of sweaters and boots and cool weather clothes it is so tempting to go out and buy these fabulous goodies. In our minds the season has changed even if the temperatures haven’t. In Florida it won’t be “cold” until January. So instead of going and spending hard earned dollars on clothes that are impractical unless travel out of state is in the future, why not stock up on the summer merchandise the stores are desperately trying to unload? There are plenty of 80 degree days in our future here in the Sunshine State and October is prime time to pick up flowy dresses, lightweight sweaters and fabulous separates at rock bottom prices.

One of my favorite places to pick up fabulous fashion at affordable prices is Fresh Threads Designer Consignment in South Tampa. They carry a beautiful array of high end designers at a fraction of the cost of retail. The cozy boutique is filled to the rim with high end shoes, handbags and accessories to complement the fabulous fashion that line the racks. All the items are gently loved and some are even brand new. As with any other store they are currently getting rid of summer apparel and bringing in fall and winter fashion from their high end consignors. If you’re in the south Tampa area you should definitely stop by the boutique located on S. Mac Dill Ave. The owner spoils you with a glass of wine and expert advise as you shop. Love that!

When the weather finally does cool off here in warm and sunny FL I will be wearing fuzzy sweaters and comfy denim with a hot pair of heels and a buttery soft leather handbag (that I got at a discount) while sipping a pumpkin latte.

I just love the fall. I think I’ll go make a pie now 🙂