Tag Archives: Fashion Beauty Friend Friday

Friend Friday: Summertime is for Strawberries!

For today’s Friend Friday, we are sharing our favorite seasonal dish.  My favorite is one that is best made whenever strawberries are in season, which is really anytime of the year.  One of my signature dishes is making cheesecake.  But I feel like for the summer, it’s a bit too hot to use the oven.  I searched the world-wide web and found this fresh and light alternative, and I have been making this dish for around 4 years now (original recipe found here).  I’ll do a step-by-step demo of this sometime soon.  Have a great weekend!

Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle

  • Prep Time: 20 min.
  • Cook Time: None
  • Serves: 14

Ingredients

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 cups whipping cream, whipped (or 1 tub of Cool Whip)
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) loaf frozen pound cake, thawed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, grated
  • Chocolate curls (optional)
  • Additional strawberries (optional)

Cooking Directions

  1. In a bowl, toss strawberries with 1/2 cup sugar; set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, orange juice and remaining sugar until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream; set aside.
  3. Drain strawberries, reserving juice; set the berries aside. Gently toss cake cubes with reserved juice. Place half of the cake in a 4-qt. trifle dish or serving bowl. Top with a third of the cream cheese mixture, half of the strawberries and half of the grated chocolate. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cream cheese mixture. Garnish with chocolate curls and strawberries if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Note:  Instead of using a 4 qt trifle dish or serving bowl, you can also use a 2 inch deep serving dish/pan and put the layer of pound cake cubes on the bottom, spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cake, and add the strawberries to the top.

(Image courtesy of Taste of Home)

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday is a Google group for bloggers to converse on a given topic each week. Katy from ModlyChic sends the questions, bloggers post their responses and then add their post to the list of people sharing their thoughts on the subject matter. To get started, check out this great tutorial on Grit & Glamour here.

Friend Friday: Vacation, All I Ever Wanted!

Ah, summer always remind of vacations, which reminds me of The Go-Go’s.  But vacations also mean lots of hurry, scurry and of course, packing!  This week’s Friend Friday asks us to think about how we mentally and physically prepare for that quick get away.

When it comes to packing for vacation what’s your mantra?

I don’t really have one, because I’m always contradicting them in some way.  My tendancy is to overpack, which is ironic because I always go shopping no matter where I go.  One thing that really has helped me in a few situations was something my mom taught me:  make sure to have an extra outfit, underwear, socks, and toothbrush in your carry-on.  In times where my luggage was either lost or delayed, this has been a lifesaver!

What are your must packs?

Other than the essentials (underwear, socks and toiletries), I must always have a casual outfit which includes jeans, a t-shirt and pair of shorts, a swimsuit, a business casual outfit, an outfit for an evening out and a very light cardigan or jacket and blazer.  I must also have at least 4 pairs of shoes to match these corresponding outfits.

What are you happy to leave behind?

Heavy jackets or coats, unless I’m knowingly traveling to a place with inclement weather.  I did pack a coat when I went to London because I wasn’t sure what the weather would be like.  Then ended up buying a coat there and we had to buy another piece of luggage to accommodate our purchases, mainly the coat.   We were smarter when we went to New York last year and packed lighter because we knew we would shop.

Any packing secrets that help you get everything into one suitcase?

Put things in shoes and purses and roll stuff around things like hair straighteners.  Generally, try to pack essentials or things that can be mixed and matched because you know can always going shopping at some point (well, that’s my excuse anyway).

Beach reading…what are you taking with you to read in the sand?

I don’t have an iPad, Kindle or any other reading device, so I’ll be hauling the latest hard or soft cover of Sophie Kinsella’s latest “Mini Shopaholic”.

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday is a Google group for bloggers to converse on a given topic each week. Katy from ModlyChic sends the questions, bloggers post their responses and then add their post to the list of people sharing their thoughts on the subject matter. To get started, check out this great tutorial on Grit & Glamour here.

(Image courtesy of Chartstat)

Friend Friday: Peeves & Pets

I didn’t get a chance to participate in the May 6 Friend Friday post about shoes because I committed to participating in the Full Time Fabulous blog event. But I just couldn’t pass up the chance to talk about one of my favorite fashion subjects, other than purses.  I’m also combining it with this week’s topic, which is based on Beautifully Invisible’s10 Things About Your Blog That Drive Me Crazy “.  I’ll start with the peeves, then I’ll move on to my pets.

Five Things That Drive Me Crazy About Your Blog

1.  Not being able to comment

I just feel that if you have a blog out there, you want people to read it.  Don’t you want to encourage discussion?

2.  Comment sections that make it difficult to leave a comment

There have been times where I can see that people are leaving comments, so why am I the only lame one who can’t?  I think leaving a comment should be an easy task, not a frustrating one.  Previously, I had the settings on my blog set higher to block unwanted content, but that meant a lot more moderation on my part.  Wordpress is good about detecting spam, so now I’ve relaxed the comment moderation to allow more people to leave comments that can be seen instantaneously.

3.  Grammar gaffes

I think this is on everyone’s list, and it should be.  Lack of spell-check and good grammar really gets under my skin.  I will mull over a post for a while before I put anything out there in the open.  I recently attended a writing class at work that opened my eyes to my grammar mistakes.  I even had the instructor look at my blog to let me know how I can make improvements.  I write my posts as if I’m writing for a major website or publication.  I hope that it comes across that way.

4.  Lackluster headlines

In the writing class I spoke about above, we also learned about how to write efficient emails.  This included writing subject headings that accurately describe what will be discussed in the attached email.  I think that the headline/title to a blog post should do the same, but with a twist.  I love clever headlines, even if they are only one word.  In this time of Twitter where we try to be as eloquent as possible in 140 characters, why can’t you do the same with your headline?

5.  Make it personal 

I love blogs that interject a little bit about the writer’s personality, without revealing more than is necessary.  It allows us to see that we can all relate in some way, and that the person on the other end of the computer is just like me.

Shoes, glorious shoes!

1. What is your go-to pair of shoes?

Rather than a go-to pair, I have a go-to color: Black. I have more than enough pairs of black shoes, but I just can’t seem to stop getting them. In fact, I just bought another pair of black mary-jane pumps from Gilt called “Sinful” by Gunmetal.

2. What goes into your shoe buying decisions?

Versatility and uniqueness. I need to wear them with several different wardrobe pieces, and I want them to be show-stoppers. I may have over 10 pairs of black shoes, but none of them are the same and each has a unique shape or are a different take on a basic shoe design.

3. The majority of the shoes in your closet are what color?

Black!

4. When it comes to design shoes what are your favorite brands and why?

Right now, I’m in love with Jeffrey Campbell shoes. I love that most are platform and are a bit unusual in design. I also really enjoy Poetic Licence shoes. They are so very pretty, girly and whimsical.

5. If price wasn’t an issue, you’d own which shoe?

Several pairs of Manolo Blahniks because they are simply just beautiful shoes. Ever since that episode of “Sex and the City” called “A Woman’s Right to Shoes”, I have wanted the Sedaraby Open Toe d’Orsay pump in silver, just like Carrie’s (pictured above). If you are not familiar with the episode, it’s the one where Carrie wears them to a baby shower, only to have them stolen. Then the hostess refuses to replace them and Carrie does a creative thing to get them back.  After then seeing the first SATC movie, I fell in love with the jeweled pump called “Something Blue” that Carrie wore to her civil wedding to Big (pictured below in grey satin).  I confess that I do own a couple, but they were purchased from eBay and not the ones pictured in this post.  I would love to walk into Bloomingdale’s or Neiman Marcus and buy the one’s pictured here outright.  *sigh*

(Images courtesy of Zappos.com here; Lori’s Shoes from my post here; and Nordstrom.com here & here)

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday is a Google group for bloggers to converse on a given topic each week. Katy from ModlyChic sends the questions, bloggers post their responses and then add their post to the list of people sharing their thoughts on the subject matter. To get started, check out this great tutorial on Grit & Glamour here.

Friend Friday: Outside Wants In

This week’s FBFF is about outside influences, asking what else influences fashion bloggers other than just other fashion blogs.  It’s hard to really pinpoint what influences me, but maybe these questions can help hone in that answer.  What are your outside influences when it comes to fashion?

What magazines do you subscribe to?

Lucky, People Style Watch, Vogue

Do you watch any fashion TV shows?

I used to watch Project Runway quite religiously and also the first season of The Fashion Show, but I’ve since lost track.  I’ve also  watched a few episodes of The Rachel Zoe Project.  I guess the two shows that I’ve seen more episodes of would be Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and What Not to Wear (both the British and American versions).

Beyond blogs, what websites do you frequent for fashion inspiration?

I frequent a lot of online stores to get inspiration, mostly British sites like ASOS, Topshop and Plumo.  I like looking at online shoe store’s lookbooks, like those of Sole Struck and Jeffrey Campbell.  Since I frequent those sites to buy their clothing, I look to see what they pair their items with and then draw from my own wardrobe.

When I need an inspirational boost because I’ve got a “fashion/wardrobe block”, I just pop in a few of my favorite “Sex and the City” episodes or movies like “The Devil Wears Prada”, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” & “The September Issue” and I’m instantly inspired.

Advertisements play a huge role in forming public opinion about a product or brand… what ads do you like and why?

Coming from a media background, I’m very critical when it comes to advertisements and commercials.  I like clever ads, that aren’t necessarily humorous, but usually end up being pretty funny.  I really enjoy some of the Geico commercials lately (the “Is the pen really mightier than the sword?” and the “Hey woodchucks, quit chuckin’ my wood!” ones are very funny and clever).

I can’t really think of any magazine ads that are attracting my attention right now.  When I’m flipping through a magazine and see a striking ad, I’ll pay attention for the moment.  Then I move on to the actual content of the magazine.  I must say, that I do enjoy the European ads quite a bit.  When I went to Europe, the ads are just so much more bold, in both words and imagery.

Do you own any fashion books?

I only own a couple of books.  I own an older “Chic Simple” book and a Doc Marten book.  I own more paperback and hard cover novels, poetry books and concert/musical programs than anything else.

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday is a Google group for bloggers to converse on a given topic each week. Katy from ModlyChic sends the questions, bloggers post their responses and then add their post to the list of people sharing their thoughts on the subject matter. To get started, check out this great tutorial on Grit & Glamour here.

Friend Friday: Inspiration

FBFF continues to celebrate its one year birthday by asking questions that were asked a year ago.  I had not started fashion blogging back then, so I will have to go back and see the responses from a year ago.  It will be interesting to see how things have changed, or how they have stayed the same.

Which celebrity (celebrities) do you look to for fashion inspiration?

In thinking about this question and as I am writing, I’m finding a lot of my fashion inspiration comes from movies.  When I was in my mid to late teens, I followed Molly Ringwald, especially when “Pretty In Pink” was released.  I emulated her style in that movie because she didn’t wear any flourescent colors, anything ripped or sliced, and her style was very vintage with the floral vests, crocheted sweaters and granny boots.   Her style in that movie complimented the music I was listening to at the time and the soundtrack of that movie could have been the soundtrack to my life at that time.

I then turned to Meg Ryan after seeing “You’ve Got Mail” and “French Kiss”.  Her style in both of those movies was easy, not fussy and classic.  I think my love for the cardigan sweater and the shift dress really developed after seeing those movies.

My most recent and most significant fashion inspiration has come from “Sex and the City”.   This is the most creative I have been with my wardrobe, because I realize that I no longer have to provide excuses for who I am at this point in my life.  Watching “Sex and the City” just confirmed this fact for me.  I am younger than all of the ladies in SATC, so seeing the clothing they were wearing really inspired me to be more daring, more bold and to truly not be afraid to reflect your personality in your clothing style and fashion sense.

When it comes to your own personal style, what inspires you?

Creativity inspires me.  I consider myself a creative and artistic person, and I like for those things to come out in the way I dress.  I’m inspired by music, art, film, travel and photography.  I’m always looking for an interesting element to stand out of my outfit, and sometimes it’s because of something I’ve either seen, a place that I’ve been to, or something I’ve read about.  It could be a color, a photograph of a great pair of shoes or a favorite song.  Then I am inspired to create and develop an outfit around that.

How do you hope to inspire your readers?

I hope that I can inspire my readers to be creative with everything that they do in life.  This creativity can carry through to all aspects of everything you do, not just with style and fashion.  Meals, activities, vacations, party planning, or even a lazy day at home with your children can be incredibly creative.

Outside the realm of fashion who/what inspires you?

My son and husband inspire me all the time with their love and laughter.  My friends and family inspire me as well because of their warmth and loyalty.  But one of my true passions outside of fashion is music.  I was in a few different choirs from elementary all the way up to college and beyond.  I also have been playing piano since the age of 5 all the way up to around 14.  I resumed piano in high school, and played regularly until I directed my own choir (from 1995 to around 2003).

I surround myself with music no matter where I am and what I’m doing.  I must always have a music device with me at all times, whether it’s my iPod, satellite radio, or car stereo.  I have been an avid concert goer since I was 14, and still attend concerts as often as I can.  My husband does deejaying on the side, and is a musician himself (sax).  When I was pregnant I used to take my headphones or mini speakers and hold them to my stomach so that my son could hear the music I listen to.   Now, he sings all the time and loves to dance and I have to think that it’s because his parents are musically inclined.  To me, music not only inspires, but also unites.

And since Idol is ending… Which songs inspire you?

This is actually a nice transition from my previous answer, isn’t it?  I am heavily into 80’s alternative and pop music right now, so anything from that era is inspirational to me.  I remember listening to those songs during their heyday, and it’s fun to listen to them again and see where I’ve been and where I am now.  I’ll hear a song like “Melt With You” by Modern English and think “I wasn’t even driving when this song was released, and here I am now driving my son to the park with my husband…”  Those are always “Ah ha!” moments.

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday is a Google group for bloggers to converse on a given topic each week. Katy from ModlyChic sends the questions, bloggers post their responses and then add their post to the list of people sharing their thoughts on the subject matter. To get started, check out this great tutorial on Grit & Glamour here.

(Photo taken last year in Times Square)

Friend Friday: Gratitude

Happy one-year anniversary to FBFF!  I know I’ve only been doing this officially for two months now, but it truly has been great to be a part of this blogging community.  This week’s Friend Friday is all about gratitude and who do we thank when it comes to who we are, both personally and as bloggers.

When it comes to be personally – I owe a lot of who I am to: 

My friends and family.  They keep me grounded and make me deliriously happy.  They allow me to be who I am, and although it’s not always pretty, they accept it all.  But, they also never let me get away with too much craziness and they always reminded of where I came from.

When it comes to be professionally – I owe a lot of who I am to: 

My father.  He always taught me to always give everything I do my best shot and never do anything half way.  That way, whether you succeed or fail, you know that you never gave anything less than everything you had at the time you were giving it.

When it comes to the art of blogging, I’m grateful to these people for helping me through some rough spots: 

Really, I want to thank my husband first and foremost for understanding the need for me to use my blog as a creative outlet.  He is often my photographer and also my sounding board for ideas and thoughts.

But as far as the blogging community, there were so many inspirational people.  However, these bloggers come to mind when I think of influences and revelations of my blogging style: Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere, Kelly of The Glamourai, Kristy of Full Time Fabulous and Vahni of Grit & Glamour.

When I first re-started my blog, I sent an email to Emily and she wrote back (you can see her response in my “About” section), which was very sweet of her because I did not realize then how popular her blog was at the time.  I was flattered that she was touched by my email and thoughtfully wrote back.  She made me realize that not everything is about fashion and you can include your personality and other aspects of your life in your blog.

My favorite all-time blog is The Glamourai.  Kelly is really a dare-devil when it comes to fashion, and she reminds me that fashion is supposed to be fun, but can also be very glamorous at the same time.  Her “mixology” has inspired me to really mix it up when it comes to prints and colors.  I’m always pleasantly surprised at her creativity and fashion spontaneity.

Kristy has always been so sweet, right when I joined IFB, through her participation in the contest for FTF and to this very day.  She has made me realize the value of community when it comes to blogging and I am forever grateful to her for that!

I discovered Vahni’s blog through Kristy, and it has truly become my go to blog Bible for anything and everything that has to do with smart blogging.  Not only does she have great style, but sound advice.  I’m still reading through all of her posts and have had many “ah-ha!” moments.  I’ve learned a lot, and I’m still learning from V’s blog.

One last thought post-script:  I owe quite a bit to Independent Fashion Bloggers.  What a great network and community of like-minded people, not to mention all of the great blogging advice articles and of course the Links a la Mode.  I owe a lot to them for showing me some of the ropes, and introducing me to so many blogs I wouldn’t have otherwise known were out there.

One blogging challenge I’m grateful happened because it made me stronger was…

Starting over.  My first blogging experience was very tough because it solely had to do with the passing of my father.  I was so sad and that was constantly reflected in my first blog.  I stopped writing back then because I had lost direction after the sadness had dissipated.  I’m so glad that my friends and family encouraged me to write again and now I find it fulfilling and so much fun.

To my readers, I’d like to say…

Thank you SO much!  I have been hearing a lot of great feedback from my friends and those of you in the blogging community.  There are times when I feel like saying “Is it really worth it?” because of the time it takes to keep up a blog.  But this has been such a great creative outlet and I’m glad that so many are interested in the things that I have to say, the things I create and about my style.  I hope you all continue to follow along!

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday is a Google group for bloggers to converse on a given topic each week. Katy from ModlyChic sends the questions, bloggers post their responses and then add their post to the list of people sharing their thoughts on the subject matter. To get started, check out this great tutorial on Grit & Glamour here.

(Image courtesy of Valentina Ramos)

Friend Friday: Rules of Engagement

Be true to yourself

A number of bloggers have reached out to me recently about how to deal with Tweets, emails, DMs etc… from people who seem to be only pushing their own blog. It got me thinking – for a new blogger the rules of engagement with others in the blogging world is uncharted territory. We learn a lot about how to do it from trial and error.  – Katy of Modly Chic

I’m not a new blogger, but I definitely am a newbie to the fashion blogging world.  So this week’s FBFF questions really made me think about what I do and why I’m doing it.  Maybe it will prompt others out there to do the same blogger soul-searching.

Guest posts are a good way to gain new exposure. What do you think is the appropriate way to go about securing a guest spot?

The first time I got a “guest spot”, I did it purely by accident.   If I do a review or feature on a product, service, band, artwork or another blog, then I will email that person and let them know that I did a feature post.  I do it just to let them know I enjoyed whatever service they provided.  In turn, my blog post is shared with their company or friends and that gives my blog just a little more exposure.  For example, I wrote a review regarding my experience at a night club after seeing Alan Wilder perform a show and sent it to the publicity department of the venue.  This was just to let them know what a great time I had at their beautiful club and nothing else.  The publicity person contacted me back to ask if it was ok to  feature my post in their concert review section (see the post here).

Leaving comments is essential to growing your blog. But how can you leave a comment without coming across as ‘Follow Me. Follow Me!’?

I don’t leave a comment with the intent of anyone following my own blog or to sprinkle my link around.  I do it because I like the blog I’m reading and I am making a comment in support what that person said.  I think if you comment with only the intent of getting your blog “out there”, then you will come across as if you are desperate to have people follow you.

We’ve all gotten a mass email at one time or another asking for blog exposure, a link exchange, etc… But the mass emails don’t work. How do you make your email stand out from the crowd?

I believe that I only sent any mass emails through Facebook when I was first getting my blog started so that my friends could see my new endeavor.  I really believe that if you are genuine in your intentions, that will shine through in your correspondence.  Check out my answer in the first question because I think that answers how I make my emails stand out.

In interacting with other bloggers where do you draw the line between seeking support and begging for exposure?

I think what Kristy (of Full Time Fabulous) did is a perfect example of how to gain support without begging for exposure.  When she was in the final 10 for the Sunglass Hut blogger contest, I remember getting just 1 email from her through IFB, and that’s all I needed to get behind her so that I could show support.  She did all the rallying through her blog, and I didn’t feel like she was begging.

What’s one rule of engagement error you made and how have you remedied that?

Not knowing when to quit.  I was trying to get an album/CD review read by an artist’s publicity person so that it could be added to their official page somehow.  I received a response back regarding my first email, and tried to keep corresponding with her to make sure she didn’t forget about me.  After the 5th email, she finally said, “Do you know how many bloggers are requesting the same thing?  I’ll get to you when I can…”  That stopped me dead in my tracks.  It was then that I realized I can request twice at the most, then just stop.   If you don’t hear back, you don’t.

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday is a Google group for bloggers to converse on a given topic each week. Katy from ModlyChic sends the questions, bloggers post their responses and then add their post to the list of people sharing their thoughts on the subject matter. To get started, check out this great tutorial on Grit & Glamour here.

(Image:  Be true to yourself by sighgee on Polyvore.com)