March 31, 2012

The Sisterhood Series: Creating Your Path To Success

In this installment of The Sisterhood Series, I interviewed Hannah Halvorson, a pretty young lady with some serious creative skills! Hannah is a dancer, singer and a coach. She also has a photography business, loves to craft and is recently engaged. I knew about Hannah through a friend of mine and although we haven't met (yet!) I feel like I already know her. She is very friendly, polite and positive - I felt that she could easily be the poster girl for The Sisterhood Series. To read more about what the series is all about and why I launched it, click here.

Photo taken by Danger Fox Photography
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Hannah Halvorson and I am an aspiring photographer. 

What does a normal day look like for you?
Well, most recently, my typical day consists of working at Starbucks for 8 hours, then soaking in a bath and watching my favorite shows! I've been pretty lazy in the evenings lately. On weekends, I spend time with my fiancé. 

What inspired you to be a photographer? Where do you draw inspiration from?
There was a photograph I took a few years ago at a Renaissance Fair of a young girl chasing after bubbles. The photograph held such a magical, whimsical moment, that it actually inspired me to take more. From there, I discovered I had a passion for capturing those little moments that can speak worlds of magic. I get inspiration from music, books, and naturally other people’s photography. Oh, and America’s Next Top Model!
Some of Hannah's photographs

You also like to do crafts, sing and dance! When did you start and what inspired you? I've been crafting ever since I can remember. Give me a piece of paper, and I will find something to do with it! I've made wall art, stationary, journals, scarves, magnets, stuffed animals, jewelry, clothing, purses, lamp shades, picture frames… really, if it’s something I can make, I’ll try it. I've also been singing from the beginning. I grew up on Shania Twain so I’ve got a little twang in me, but my musical interests are now all over the place. I took voice lessons, was in a few choirs growing up and into college, was big into theater in high school, and in the last few years I've been writing and performing my own music, as well as with my new band Play Nice! I started dancing when I made my high school’s dance team in ninth grade. I worked my way up to captain the following year, and now I’m coaching the team! I just finished my third year of coaching, and can honestly say it is by far the greatest, most rewarding job I've ever had. The girls I get to work with are so precious and talented, and I am in a position to encourage and inspire them with dance. I plan to coach for as long as I physically can!
(Left) Hannah singing in her band Play Nice! (Photo by Alicia Victoria Staker) and (Right) sitting in her living room - the wall art  behind her is her own work.
""Steam Heat" - I was Gladys in The Pajama Game. Probably my favorite role ever!" ~ Hannah

What is it like to have your own business at such a young age? When did you know you were ready to start your own business?
Oh man. To be brutally honest, it doesn’t feel incredibly special. There are so many photographers my age and even younger that are starting their own businesses these days. It’s an art that can easily be shifted into a business, it seems. It’s a little saddening in that respect, but it’s also very inspiring to know that photography is becoming so big in our age group! The moment I knew I was ready to start a business was quite simply the first time someone told me they would pay me for a photograph I had taken. When I saw that my work had a monetary value as well as an emotional affect, I knew it was something I could run with. 

How would you describe your personal style and attitude?
My personal style is all over the place. One day I’ll look like a girly girl in floral dresses and soft colors. The next day I’ll look like a punk rocker in shredded shirts and bold prints. But comfort is key! I just like to be creative and switch it up as much as I can. I’ve been cutting my own hair since 10th grade, and have had every color under the sun in it (except green!). Right now it’s a short boy-cut, but I’m growing it out.

My photography style is pretty identical to what I just described. In one shoot, I might do something ethereal and whimsical, and the next might be full of pops of color and sass! For instance, I recently did a snow-goddess-esque shoot with a good friend of mine, but have some wild plans for my next session! My attitude is alwaysalwaysalways positive. You will rarely see me frowning or complaining. Life has too many magical things to offer, so I find it hard to stay negative for too long!
(Left) Hannah based this outfit on the cover of the book she is holding!

Describe how you dress for your day job and your day-to-day life outside of your job.
At Starbucks, I am required to wear all black. When coaching, I wear yoga pants or sweats with sneakers or jazz shoes. When I’m not working, I like to wear dresses, sweaters, skinny jeans, leg warmers, boots. I love layers. I’m not a big shorts girl. Not a big accessories girl either. Well, I LOVE jewelry and hair pieces, and I have a lot of them, but never take the time to accessorize. 

What is/are the piece(s) in your closet that you consider a favorite at the moment?
I got this neat dress from Hot Topic that is black with hot pink cats on it! I adore cats. I’m allergic to them, but I love them. Also, my staple skinny jeans from American Eagle. My fiancé got them for me for Christmas! They are the first skinny jeans in a long time that actually fit right and look right. Finally, my Oreo’s sweatshirt. It’s blue, collared, and has dancing Oreo’s in top hats on it. I found it at a thrift store in Seattle! People either find it hilarious or atrocious, but I love it!

How do you like to relax and spend your weekends?
To relax, I watch a LOT of tv. I don’t have cable or anything, so I have to watch everything online. On the weekends, I spend time with my fiancé Michael. He lives in Williston, so we go back and forth, or meet up in Minot, where he grew up.

What motivates you?
Deadlines. If there were no deadlines, I would get nothing done. Honestly, that’s about it. If I’m being honest with myself, I’m an incredibly lazy person. But no one would notice because I keep so busy! If I have a million things to do all the time, then I am able to keep going.

What are you most passionate about?
So many things… But if I had to choose one, I’d say music in general. The creation of it, the inspiration from it, the movement to it, and the emotions in it.

Where would you like to be in 5 years?
Married to Michael, maybe with a kid or two by then. Still coaching, still taking pictures, still making music. My life is so blessed right now, I’d like my future to be much like what my present is.

How do you sparkle and spice up your life?
Oh wow, what a neat question! Umm… I guess I’d have to say by finding new things! New styles, new music, new ideas. I’m constantly switching it up, but always holding on to old classics.

"...the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off… They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.” - Pearl Buck

I hope Hannah's story creates in you the determination and drive to go towards your dreams. Never miss the opportunity to be creative - it truly does add depth and dimension to your life. You don't have to be Picasso or Michelangelo, all it takes is to sing in the shower, dance when nobody's watching, have fun with a DIY project or indulge in a home cooked meal.

XOXO- Chrissy

March 28, 2012

Modcloth Quiz of the Month: Calling Collections

Hey dolls!

So I found this quiz on Modcloth's blog and thought it would be fun to share on here :) Read my answers below and leave a comment with yours as well - I would love to read them!

Chrissy's Answers:
1. d: A convertible. I mean, no question really. Every girl wants to ride in a convertible with the music blaring and hair flowing beautifully in the wind while driving towards the sunset on a perfect summer day. Of course, I would have the cutest white summer dress and floppy hat along with some classic aviators and bright nail polish to complete this blissful picture!

2. c: Captain Kate. I think when you say Captain, it sounds so masculine and then you finish that phrase with a feminine name like, oh I don't know - Chrissy, there's a sense of strength in it's unfamiliarity. It would be nice to woman a crew of sailors like Keira Knightley in Pirates of The Caribbean.
3. b: Love pomegranates and pears. I am an island girl so fruits make me super happy and I will eat a plate of fruits without complaining for iced tea or vodka any day!

4. d: I would be an exclamation point. I am super hyper and bubbly. I just love to laugh and enjoy the good things in life. I have been bit of a negative Nancy these days, walking around with a dark cloud over my head. But things are looking up and I am on the right track and feeling more like myself :)

5. c: Travelling the world has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl. It has always been a dream and I know I am going to do everything I can to make it happen. I love seeing the world and the people in it, experiencing everything around me and just reveling in the beauty of it all. *Cue "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong *
6. I don't know. I have always appreciated art, history and fashion even though I don't know much or enough about any of it to impart my "knowledge" to other people. I would probably teach something like public relations or marketing :)

7. a: I always find that every thing does indeed have a silver lining. The world is a better place when we look for the positives.

8. None. I think I'd love a night at the theater. So grown up and sophisticated. Karaoke is great too - let loose and be comfortable with each other and everyone else who has to hear you "sing". I wouldn't do any of this on a first date though. I'd like something a bit low-key like dinner and a movie. You gotta test the waters before you jump in it!

9. c: Huge flare jeans belted with a flowy printed blouse tucked in. Sky high wedges, a crossbody bag slung on my shoulder and wavy hair. My inner boho girl just gave me a high five!
10. Actually it's peonies and lilies and of course, every girl loves roses. I just basically can't choose. Gimme anything pretty and I'll be smiling all day.

So pick one question or answer them all - I would love to read your answers in the comments!


March 25, 2012

Quote: A Girl Who Reads ~ Rosemarie Urquico

Hi lovers,

I found this and had to share it with you. If you have the time (and patience!) to read it, it truly is beautiful. Words have so much power and this is a great example :)

“You should date a girl who reads. 

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve. 
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn. 
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. 
Buy her another cup of coffee. 
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice. 
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does. 
She has to give it a shot somehow. 
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world. 
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two. 
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. 
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are. 
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype. 
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots. 
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads. 
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.” 

On a different yet similar vein, read this:

…Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so goddamned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life of which I spoke at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being told. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. 

Or, perhaps, stay and save my life.

 ~ Charles Warnke

The Sisterhood Series: Sewing Towards Your Dreams

Hey lovely readers!

Here is the second post in The Sisterhood Series! But first, what is it all about? Well, I launched the series in celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. I see and hear so many things about women being our own worst enemies and we are so catty and just not supportive of each other. I wanted to change it, at least in some small way and so this series was born. Each post, I focus on a girl I personally know who has style, sass and doing something in their lives that they absolutely love! These girls are just like you and me and provide real-life inspiration, and I hope that their stories will help us learn and support girls all over the world, whether or not they fit into your ideal stereotype of your best girlfriend. We have come so far in elevating our status in what has been (and still is to a large extent), a man’s world. To read my original post, please click here. And without further ado, please meet Kaushala Liyanage. 

Kaushala and I are friends from school in Sri Lanka. She has always been a really nice girl with a great personality and easy-going attitude. She moved to England to pursue a degree in fashion designing, but had to quit school due to the high cost of such a degree. However, this has not stopped her from chasing her dreams. She continues to follow her heart and get closer to her goals, one high-fashion stitch at a time :) Here's my interview with her:

Who are you and what do you do?
Hello I’m Kaushala Liyanage! I am 23 years old and for now, I am a freelance fashion designer living in England.

What does a normal day look like for you?
I work full-time. When I get home I like to unwind with some tea, and plan things for tomorrow.

You’re moved to England to pursue a degree in fashion designing. What inspired your interest in all things fashion?
Well I have stopped going to university because I didn’t have enough funds to support myself, so I am working full time now. I’m saving to start my label and my store - I have just a little more to earn so I can reach my goal. What inspires me? Well everything that’s beautiful, everything that’s around me, mainly things from nature. I also find inspiration from other designers like Valentino, Stefano Pilati and Riccardo Tisci.

When did you know you wanted to become a fashion designer?
I knew when I saw a dress by Valentino on TV. I was around six or seven years old. I remember I had this book where I would draw designs – I used to get so mad at myself for not knowing how to illustrate the detailing the way I imagined it in my head. My parents kept the book. It’s all I ever wanted to do.

Describe a typical day of design school.
It was the best time of my life, I enjoyed every second of it. I got to go to Paris and see the fashion museum, the biggest fabric exhibition, and toured the city. It was a great experience and something I never thought I would be able to do.
Kaushala's designs from her first collection - "Lola"
You recently started creating your own pieces. Tell me about the whole process.
Yes I have and it was so hard yet so much fun. It’s the most rewarding experience, especially when you see the collection evolve from a simple flower to a fully developed design.
A model wears Kaushala's design from her Lola collection

What are the experiences you have had in the fashion industry? Have you been to London Fashion Week?
I did go to London Fashion Week once. It was beyond amazing! A lot of my experience in the industry came from my time in design school; my trip to Paris also gave me so much insight. Right now my experience comes from just doing my own thing, designing and doing what I love. I learn something every day.

How has living in so many cities in the world affected your style? How did you adapt your style?
I love this question, it’s amazing how much the high street, and street fashion can influence you. It stuns you how different people are when putting one outfit together, it’s like a fingerprint. It’s different in every country and it has a lot to do with the environment and culture of the people.

Describe how you dress for your day job and your day-to-day life outside of your job.
I like things I feel comfortable wearing. Whenever I go out it depends on where I go and who I go out with. So I put something together depending on these points, oh and the weather.

How would you describe your personal style and attitude in life? 
My personal style is very chic, classic, with a little bit of Boho. I don’t like jewelry much, if I do wear some it’s always a pair of earrings. I do love a very deep black eye and red lipstick is wonderful! My attitude towards life, I like to take it one day at a time. I really do love living; I am not scared of the future. And I’ll never give up on my dreams.

What is/are the piece(s) in your closet that you consider a favorite at the moment?
My black brogue shoes is a favorite right now.

How do you like to relax and spend your weekends?

I love going to the park that’s next to my house and I love cooking with my husband.

What motivates you?
My parents and my siblings, whenever I think about them I know I need to do my best.

What are you most passionate about?
Life and love

Where would you like to be in 5 years?
In my own little boutique making dresses, doing what I love.

How do you sparkle and spice up your life?
I add spice to my life by living in every single moment.

Just around the corner in every woman's mind - is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume which will make an enchanting new creature of her.  ~ Wilhela Cushman 

I hope you enjoyed reading Kaushala's story and take away some inspiration from it. Her dreams did not get handed to her on a silver platter, but what you see is a determined young woman, with a love for life and fashion, doing everything possible to get one step closer and finally achieve her dreams. So don't let obstacles stop you from doing what you love. See them as a challenge instead because what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger.


March 14, 2012

Personal Style: { Color-Block }

I love color-blocking and I'm glad the color block craze has stuck around for well over a year! I also love the colored jeans trend at the moment. I was a little skeptical to try red jeans so I bought a cheap pair online - they are super comfy and fit so well. I'm in love! I paired two very traditional colors together - red and blue. They were both strong, bold shades and it worked well. It's more of an obvious color choice, but I love the effect nevertheless. I think sometimes people can get too carried away with trying to do something OTT that they forget less is more :)

Jeans - bought online
Cobalt knit sweater - thrifted
Necklace - Body Central
Earrings - Cool Planet, Sri Lanka
Ankle boots - Liz Clairborne

Live life in color,

March 11, 2012

The Sisterhood Series: Dancing Through Life

To celebrate Women's History Month and International Women's Day, I launched The Sisterhood Series, in support of all kinds of women, from all walks of life. It is so important to stick together and be there for each other. Our predecessors did so much in the name of women's rights - we can vote, we can drive, we can wear pants and carry a briefcase better than any man. But like they say, with great power comes great responsibility. We have gained a voice along with freedom but there is much to be done, much to still stand up and fight for. And we can do it. If only we look around and hold hands with other women and work towards the same goal. You can read the intro post of The Sisterhood Series here.

For the first post in the series, I could think of no-one better to start with than Katya Bryleva. 

"There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good."  ~Edwin Denby

We met in university and if there was one thing I quickly learned about Katya was that she loved to dance. No - she lived, breathed and exuded dance. But that's not all there is to Katya (pictured above). This feisty lady hails from Tula, Russia; she is 24 years old and got a job straight out of college as an Assurance Accountant at Ernst & Young, one of the "Big Four" accounting firms in the world. While Katya is a young accountant by day, this free-spirited woman transforms into a dancer by night, bringing the roof down with her mad skills! Here is my interview with her:

1. Who are you and what do you do?
Hi! I'm Katya Bryleva. I'm from Russia, went to the University of North Dakota for college and I now live in Minneapolis, MN and work for Ernst and Young. I also recently started my own dance studio in the Twin Cities with my friend and partner, Amy Dorman.

2. What does a normal day look like for you?
There is really no standard pattern so far. Depends on the time of the year (we are in busy season right now at my accounting job) and client location. But no matter what the day brings me I try to always have time for breakfast (the most important meal of the day!); during that time I get the right nutrients and mentally organize/re-organize my day and catch up on the news.  A workout (running, dance, Pilates), even if it is just 40 minutes. I try to have some social interaction with people that are important to me through a quick phone call, coffee break together, an email. It is safe to say that the rest of the time is occupied with work.
Katya performing at Feast of Nations with her partner, Andy Tanem
Katya (third from right) in her early dance days

3. You started dancing at a very early age. What inspired you to continue dancing?
It’s just never been an option not to dance. Even at an early age,  before my  actual training began, every time I had a chance to dance I would : at family functions,  on the street, in a grocery store  ( I still  have my mini jam sessions as I am browsing through Target aisles!).  There were a couple of moments in  my life when I was stupid  enough (due to family pressure, moving and other life transitions)  to try  to convince myself  that me and dance are going to have separate lives from now on, but thankfully that never happened.  As I became more mature and confident in my decisions, I realized how lucky I am to find something in life that truly makes me feel alive and helps me power through any life circumstances.  Not everyone discovers that through their lifetime.  And how powerful it is to be able to share your passion with others and to be able to influence people’s lives in a small way: one dance lesson at a time.

4. And eventually start your own dance class?
When I moved to Minneapolis I tried out a few studios, but none of them quite gave me what I wanted, probably because teaching gives me way more satisfaction as opposed to just taking the class.  In one of the classes I met my future partner, Amy Dorman. It only felt natural to start teaching together.  Both of us had been accumulating some creative energy (every time I hear a new great song, I start mentally choreographing) that we wanted to share. So after our first meeting in my kitchen, we started planning, marketing, looking for space to rent and a month later we had our first class.

5. What is it like to be an accountant by day and a dancer/business owner by night?
Busy! And Fun!  They are two quite contrasting worlds. The first one is all about following the rules, predictability, staying within the borders and not creating discrepancies in your work, words or clothes.  The second one encourages individuality, creativity, and pushing yourself in directions you've never been.  At the same time there are lots of skills that are transferable from one world to another: accounting knowledge is a must for a business owner; as a dance/fitness instructor my clients come from a variety of backgrounds, including the business world. Knowing what they are facing on a daily basis helps me to understand what their fitness needs are, before they even realize that themselves; being physically fit and knowing how to relax helps me to stay sane at my accounting job.
From belly-dancing and ballet to zumba and flash mobs - this girl's done it all!
With business partner, Amy Dorman.

6. How would you describe your personal style?
Developing my personal style is a work in progress, which takes time and creativity (especially since I am on a budget. Usually shoes are the most expensive item in my wardrobe because I am always on the go and want shoes that look great and feel great. I also don’t mind spending on great fitting jeans/pants.  But when it comes to seasonal must-haves like scarves, hair bands, party dresses, I frequent places like Forever 21 or Target. At the end of the day, it is YOU who makes the clothes, not the other way around.

7. How has living in so many cities in the world affected your style? How did you adapt your style?
Russian women pay close attention to the latest fashion and like to emphasize (in some cases by overdoing it) their feminine side. I used to be the girl that wears three inch heels to go grocery shopping across the street from home. So coming to North Dakota was a bit of a shocker to me (I still can’t get over the fact that wearing ugly huge backpacks is a common practice for ladies). My first day of classes I was dressed like it was a normal Grand Forks Friday night. I have learnt my lessonJ. When I started teaching two/three dance classes per day between my classes and jobs, I opted for shoes that can get me quickly from one building to another- an urban look that went great with who I am as a hip hop dancer. It was comfortable to dance in, yet did not look like worn out sweat pants and my uncle’s t-shirt.  Moving to New York was a life changing moment in many aspects, clothes included. Streets of New York are the most inspirational fashion place for me and many others. Creativity and individuality is what people are striving for and they do it well. I have learnt to include more ethnic inspired patterns, started listening to my instincts, and reconnected with my feminine side.  I used to have certain stores that I would typically go to, but while in NYC I started searching for “me” pieces at a variety of places.

8. Describe how you dress for your day job and your day-to-day life outside of your job.
 My work environment is one of the most conservative places when it comes to dress code - no sleeveless tops, no open-toed shoes, and no crazy patterns. So it is challenging to make it more like me, less like stereotypical accountant from the movies in a black suit and a briefcase.  Accessories have been lifesavers for me.  Chunky bracelets, colorful necklaces, purple/leopard print shoes are the pieces I have been incorporating lately. I am also on a constant search for multi-functional pieces.  I own a few tops that you can wear as business casual with a jacket over it during the day, but when it comes night time, leaving the jacket at work, adding a belt or other accessories turns them into a perfect going out outfit.  For daily life beyond my job skinny jeans and leggings work great for dancing, casual weekends, and going out. 
"I like to have one “statement piece” in my outfit: boots, a purse, a belt, anything in color that makes the most 'normal' wardrobe piece look fresher." Here, Katya is a rocking a short sleeved animal print jacket, which makes a basic turtleneck and jeans combo go from blah to rawr!

9. What is/are the piece(s) in your closet that you consider a favorite at the moment? I am currently in love with colored pants: bright blue jeans and red dress pants.  They just add a little more color and fun to my life and helps me to distinguish myself from others yet stay within work appropriate borders.  One shoulder tops have been my favorites for years for dancing and going out/casual chic outfits. And my sneaks/white converse shoes are dear to my dancer heart.

10. How do you like to relax and spend your weekends?
Taking dance classes; having breakfast in cute coffee shops with a book; shopping; sleeping; catching up with friends; skyping with my family and wandering around the unknown parts of the city with one of my best friends, my iPod.
Katya (left) with close friend, Kate Sharkova

11. What motivates you?
Passion and people and people with passion. Passion for what you do in everyday life and people you are with. I really believe that a handful of passionate individuals can change the world, or impact someone’s life, even if it is one person at a time. I believe that everyone matters. I have deep appreciation for everyone’s individuality and not fitting into standards. Humankind never ceases to inspire me and to give me numerous learning and growth opportunities.  I  was extremely lucky to  meet a few  people that  I can call my mentors and who always manage to provide me with some guidance and inspiration when I need it most.

12. Where would you like to be in 5 years?
In NYC having my own studio (or two) with dance classes for adults, making people healthy and happy!

13. How do you sparkle and spice up your life?
Travelling, exploring, learning...and shoe shopping of course!

Dance for yourself, if someone understands good. If not then no matter, go right on doing what you love.” ~Unknown

You can check out dK Hip-hop's YouTube channel here. I hope Katya's story inspires you. And remember, even if you think you're not good at it, just let go and dance because it makes the world a better place. Life is meant to be danced away. Follow your passion - it could be juggling, or rock climbing - doesn't matter what it is, just do it!

But don't forget to always dance.

[Photos taken from Katya's Facebook]

Personal Style: { Boyfriend } Blazer

I think it's safe to say that spring is on its way (fingers crossed). It was a beautiful 50 degree sunny day and I loved every minute of it. So I upped the chic factor on the basic jeans and tee look by adding a boyfriend blazer, pointy-toed heels and a clutch. All in black. A little bit of red lipstick finished the look. I got the whole thing together in under 10 minutes so it's definitely something to remember when you want to jump straight out of bed and out the door.

P.S. The boyfriend blazer is custom-made from Hameedias in Sri Lanka. They are a great tailoring company but they don't do suits for women - my dad and I walked in one day and I asked them to make me a blazer and a black skirt. They took my suggestions and did a great job. Tailoring is so important in order to look well-fitted and put-together. Don't be afraid to ask your tailor for exactly what you need.

Jeans - Macy's
White tee- from my boyfriend's closet (thanks baby!)
Boyfriend Blazer - custom made Hameedias, Sri Lanka
Heels - Unknown brand, bought in Sri Lanka
Faux croc clutch - Target
Ring - gift
  Watch out for the first post of The Sisterhood Series in the next couple of days!


March 7, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

These are just a few of my favorite things at the moment and I wanted to share:

1. I don't want to give this away just yet, but it's Calvin Klein so you know it's good! I know, I really shouldn't tease when it comes to serious business ;)

2. Pretty thank you cards. It's so important to be grateful and show appreciation. 

3. My vintage Gucci wallet. This was given to me as a gift by my mother. 

4. On my reading list for spring break.

5. An assortment of some of my necklaces

6. I love this piece of wall art. it says, "Good girls are just bad girls who don't get caught." Ain't it true?

7. Coach key chain given to me by an old friend

8. It's all in the details. Will feature this one soon-ish :)

9. Gooey chocolatey goodness - nom nom nom

Hope you all have a good rest of your week and a happy, safe spring break! Don't forget to follow me on Google Friend Connect (Join This Site button on sidebar as well as Bloglovin.) You can also find me here:

March 6, 2012

The Sisterhood Series: Supporting Real Girls All Over The World

Why hello there!

I'm going to cut to the chase here. March is Women's History Month and this Thursday is International Women's Day. Our predecessors did so much in the name of women's rights - we can vote, we can drive, we can wear pants and carry a briefcase better than any man. But like they say, with great power comes great responsibility. We have gained a voice along with freedom but there is much to be done, much to still stand up and fight for. And we can do it. If only we look around and hold hands with other women and work towards the same goal - even if that goal is to support other women and help them up instead of bringing them down. I see and hear so many things about women being our own worst enemies; we are so catty and just not supportive of each other. I wanted to change it, at least in some small way. So here's to celebrating women in all our shapes and forms, supporting one another through our good days and bad and helping each other realize their dreams from the tiniest speck to the larger-than-life. 

I like to celebrate big, so I am launching 'The Sisterhood Series', a series of posts through March, where I will interview real ladies whom I personally know. These ladies are strong, independent, stylish and sassy. They also have goals and dreams and are doing something about it. They are real life inspiration, your everyday girls without all the fluff and photo retouching. Girls like you and me, who have an opinion and are not afraid to let it be heard. They come from so many different backgrounds and different parts of the world. I hope that their stories will help us learn and support girls all over the world, whether or not they fit into your ideal stereotype of your best girlfriend. Get pumped, because it will be an exciting journey full of real-life stories and real-life inspiration.

Credits: Photos of Kylie Minogue taken by photographer Ellen von Unwerth.

"I'm a woman of mad competence. I'm very optimistic. I have high self-esteem. I give myself choices, and I always feel as if I belong." ~ Unknown


Bisous et câlins,

Disclaimer {9/11/13}: I know Kylie Minogue prancing around in a bunch of pink isn't exactly your average "real girl", I just put them here because they are colorful, fun and playful - which I think is positive. Also these are some qualities that a lot of us girls have and/or aspire to have just because being positive and playful and yes, colorful makes us feel good and heals our souls and you got it, adds a little spice to our lives. Besides, I'm a grown woman, I can do whatever I want (quoting Queen Bey, of course).