Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ipsy- Glamour Academy

Back to school couldn't be more exciting with Ipsy's August Glam bag. Packed with beauty basics in the sweetest plum makeup bag I have all the stationary a girl could need to get through the day!

What's your take on this months glam bag?


                   My favorites: PACIFICA BB Cream & NOYA vanilla lipbalm

               I'm loving the plum color and school vibe of this makeup bag!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Coffee with Alretha Thomas: Part 1

After reading Married in the Nick of Nine by Alretha Thomas in one night I was honored to be given the opportunity to interview the author. I met up with Thomas in LA. On first glance she portrays a very business like persona, dressed in a tailored suit with a neon shirt exposing the fashionista in her with long steady strides. I quickly find out she has a very inviting smile and caring personality. She orders a blueberry muffin and latte, too excited to eat I am content with a caramel latte. 

Polished Practical: The main character Cassandra is apprehensive about turning 30 and from the very first chapter we see her fretting over Valentines Day. Did you mean for her character to speak so universally to all women? And why do you think Valentines Day is such a difficult holiday for women to deal with? 
Alretha Thomas: Wow Cassandra- I definitely envisioned her to be a universal character. I think that women seeking love...and this biological clock is universal. You know as little girls playing dolls, dreaming of having a knight in shining armor, getting married - we are just socialized that way. Even though this is 2013, women still have this whole thing about getting married. Look at the Kim Kardashian thing, people still wanna get married despite of divorce rates and that's why I felt that Cassandra could represent all women. I felt that goal of getting married before turning 30 was universal. Every woman can relate to that. Valentines Day runs deep, I think that society has created this holiday, make money and take advantage of the vulnerabilities of women, knowing that we have this love, this romance thing going on. We fall for it. ...there is this peer pressure on Valentines day, your coworker gets want to have flowers too! It's not right, we should be in a place where we feel we are enough, but that's not reality. Women still trip when it comes to Valentines Day. 

PP: Clearly Cass shares the same angst that many women do. When you create a character like her do you base it off of real women in your life or is it just loosely based and everything else is fictional? 
AT: I have to think about how I develop characters. It usually starts with the story...for instance, I knew that I wanted to write about a woman that wants to get married before she turns 30. The story was an overwhelming thing at that point, you know, how was it going to unfold? ...then I started thinking about the character. It's like a seed is planted in me and then it develops - with Cassandra, I had her name and then I started seeing her, feeling her, thinking about her and then from there I started writing a biography about her...I created her. ...whats interesting to me is once the character was developed I actually met someone at my work [Thomas visibly shows her surprise of this happening]. This woman was my character, come to life right before my eyes. My characters are definitely not consciously based on anyone else. 

PP: Do you think that Cassandra is more accepting of Nick's shortcomings because she has a sense of desperation at her nearing birthday? 
AT: Well I think that you have to realize though that he's a good she's fallen in can't cut feelings on and off and that's why a lot of times people won't reveal to you certain things that are deal breakers. They know once they put the cards on the table, it's not going to be that easy for you to walk away. She's in love not desperate... Cassandra has a big heart, she works for Haven House, a shelter for women...she's not jaded. 

PP: For the most part Cass takes the high road. I really like her character for this reason, why did you not have her take revenge? 
AT: You know some people didn't like that fact. I think what Nick did is so much that it's hard for people to reconcile that...she did go through her paces though. But of course love wins! Why would she waste all her time and energy doing that? 
PP: That's a good point, we can see it in women we come across in our everyday lives. 

PP: Why choose to have the "hidden" part of Nick's life in New York and not just keep everything in LA? 
AT: [laughs] Then I wouldn't have a synopsis of something " being rotten in the Big Apple." I have a confession to make, I guess this part of the story is loosely based on something that happened to me. A long time ago...I met a guy at a club in LA and he was drop dead gorgeous and from New York. I ended up moving there and it didn't work out. So that inspired me. ...The drama going down in New York raised the stakes, if she was in LA it would have been to comfortable, on her own territory. And New York is a great place...great flavor for the book to have that. 
PP: How long did you live there for? 
AT: For three months...I didn't like living there. I worked at this place on Fashion Ave and the people are crazy. 

PP: Did you purposely name Cass's cousin Cyn? 
AT: I didn't 
PP: Really?! It's perfect! 
AT: I didn't do it on purpose, but when I wrote the sequel I said Oh! look at that. it's kind of nice. 
PP: Wait! Third book of this?        
AT: Oh yeah, there's a third book! It's already been completed.    
PP: I have something to look forward too!      
AT: [Big smile] I have used a play on words with her name. 
PP: The name Cyn foreshadows her whole character. 
AT: It works, it works well. 

PP: I read the book in one sitting!
AT: I can't believe that [a big smile spreads across his face)

PP: I can see the whole thing with the nosey neighbor but I'm really curious about your decision of the neighbor that looks like Denzel. 
AT: [Laughs] I thought it would be cute that someone looks like him. You know maybe if the book blows up really big, he could play himself in the movie version [both break out into a fit of giggles like school girls].    

PP: Have you ever worked at a women's shelter like Cass?
AT: No I haven't. I admire Cass, I think she is a better woman than I am... it's symbolic to myself, I've been beat down a couple of times in my life... it pays homage to caring for women.
PP: I think it also helps readers understand why she is so strong. We see this in parts of the book. She actually protects the woman that's causing her so much pain. I love that about her! 
AT: That's so sweet!
PP: Well nowadays so many women are in competition with each other, but we're suppose to help one another. We complain that men disrespect us but we have to start by respecting each other.
AT: That's right! It's interesting you say that because it reminds me of the whole Trayvon Martin case. When the verdict came out people were irate and I posted... I was flat lined... I posted about the black on black violence - Why does it take one white person to get people mad? It's the same thing, if we don't respect each other how do we expect other people too [frustration rises in Thomas].
PP: Well bottom line is there shouldn't be any crimes happening. I notice that you did a play called Grandpa's Truth and it tackled the subject of race. That's been huge in the media lately with everything that's been happening. What do you feel that [pause] not necessarily the solution is but how do you feel that society should deal with this? What's the next step?
AT: This is very tough. I would hope that it wouldn't happen again but it probably will... It's not an overnight solution, you have to get in the trenches with that, where does it all start? ... kids are joining gangs to feel safe... this didn't happen over night. ... We do have to also deal with the justice system, we do have to deal with the reality that if Trayvon were white we would be having a whole different discussion now. If Zimmerman were black and Trayvon white there's a good chance that Zimmerman would be behind bars right now. ...There's a stigma, people are profiling and we gotta get away from that... That Stand Your Ground law is scary, there are a lot of issues. It's gonna take everyone working on this. I don't know if it will ever change, maybe in three generations from now its possible. 
PP: Right it's not an overnight thing, but I also feel that it starts with education in our own homes. How we teach our kids to interact and respect others, to befriend everyone. The negative mindset needs to change otherwise there will still be ignorance. 

[Interview goes off record]

Stay tuned this week for part two of coffee with Alretha!  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sugar Bread on Teatime Tuesday

My parents were sharing childhood stories last weekend when my mum mentioned sugared bread as an afternoon tea snack. My ears perked up at the sound of sugared bread and in the same breath my heart sunk as she explained that the sugared bread was a result of not being able to afford anything else to eat. Far from the streets of London where my mum was raised are the worldly plains of Iran the country that my father is from. My dad talked about how they would eat the same snack but simply for the taste. While the cultures are so different both had a shared experience that although painful for one strengthened their connection.

Next time you are hungry try toasting some bread, spreading the butter and adding a sprinkle of sugar with a cup of tea and allow yourself to feel connected to many people and cultures around the world.

Monday, August 19, 2013

LJ Trunk Show

Lucky for me my gym requested a Lorna Jane trunk show exposing the brand and it's philosophy to Move, Nourish, Believe. Lorna Jane is fairly new to the United States and is continuously creating new styles, 7-100 varying pieces a month actually. Trunk shows help promote brands but they also offer a fun, relaxed setting to explore something new. You can contact your local Lorna Jane store and ask for the recruiting coordinator if you want to hold a charity event or just a party for all your sporty sisters.

Hope you all have a great Monday, and remember to
MOVE your body everyday
NOURISH from the inside out

            A few sporty sisters checking out the summer styles of Lorna Jane

Trainer Shannon getting some help from Audra - so many great styles to choose from

           The details make the designs so unique for active sportswear

Testing out LJ's designs with the Amy 3/4 tights, the interval mesh tank and the Regatta Bra

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Leather & Lace

       Anthropologie Peplum, Halogen leather skirt and H&M cigar shoes

I fell in love with this leather Halogen skirt from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale and couldn't imagine waiting for Fall to arrive. So voila! I paired this fantastic find with a mint lace peplum which is proving to be very versatile (see how I styled it here) and cigar shoes that add a pop to the outfit.

Would you ever wear leather in the summer?


Monday, August 12, 2013

MORE Of the fit woman's secrets

                                       c/o Lorna Jane Glendale

More is definitely what you get in this must-read second book by Lorna Jane Clarkson, the founder and CCO of "Lorna Jane". Until now, I always referred to a pick-me-up as a cup of coffee or some candy, after reading MORE OF THE FIT WOMAN'S SECRETS,  I found it to be my pick-me-up for the day. Each page keeps reeling me in deeper to the philosophy of the Move, Nourish, Believe sisterhood.

If there is any misconception of the Lorna Jane brand it is that it's simply a store that sells work-out clothes. Jane's message extends beyond the hip clothes and is constantly being applied to our lives. She encourages you to set goals for success, appreciate your time more and dream big. Reading MORE makes me feel like I'm talking to one of my aunties or best friends.

A short way into the book Lorna Jane speaks of how the fear of mistakes will imprison you, so taking risks is important. It actually encouraged me to implement a motivational program at my office that will recognize employees for the good they have done and motivate them to strive for more. Being fit is not only about the physical aspect of working out, it is a philosophy that encompasses our entire well being.

EATING RIGHT: A large portion of the book is dedicated to fueling your body, nourishing it and learning to eat cleaner. There really are no more excuses with this section of the book because recipe after recipe is provided to start you off on your new health quest. There are even dessert recipes included! You know I have a major sweet tooth so I was absolutely delighted that Jane included these. She recognizes that it's ok to have indulgences. There are also little tips such as drinking hot water with lemon in the morning to jump-start your metabolism.

                       One of my favorite recipe suggestions by Lorna Jane

I actually shared the 12 things mentioned in MORE in one of my motivational meetings at work

There are mantras and quotes spattered all over the pages of MORE to get you to push yourself to excel, and to help you feel amazing.

                                     "to be beautiful is to be yourself"

BEAUTY: What woman doesn't like talking about spa treatments, exfoliaters and makeup? Lorna Jane
reveals her thoughts on beauty and provides easy how-tos for homemade scrubs and facials to empower women to take care of themselves regardless of financial status.

                                  Lorna Jane and her husband Bill Clarkson

THE BRAND AND THE WOMAN BEHIND IT: MORE delves into the thought process of Lorna Jane the brand, where and how it originated. Readers are able to connect with LJ on  a deeper level than her first book Move, Nourish, Believe, including an exclusive question and answer section with her husband and CEO, Bill Clarkson. I love that there is an actual chapter dedicated to living the California dream. Sure I'm originally from England, but I'm beginning to feel more and more like a Cali girl every day. This book speaks universally to women from all walks of life; it acknowledges the great importance of the strength behind a woman and the influence she has on others, especially in the lives of her family.

No sooner had I finished the book than I want to start reading it all over again! Yes it's informative and makes you feel more connected to the brand, but more than that it made me feel excited to move, nourish, believe. Whether you are looking for recipe ideas, background tips or just simply to smile, you will undoubtedly gain something from this book.

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ipsy - Beach Beauty July

Ok so I know what you are thinking...July Ipsy, but we're in August. I can't believe I forgot to post this but better late than never..right?

All the essentials for a summer holiday were packed in a bright pink makeup bag that takes me back to my teenage years of cheap PVC pencil cases. My favorite item in this bag would have to be the Nailtini nail polish in 'Mai Tai', it is so eye catching and the perfect accessory to some summer fun!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Teetime Tuesday

Pickwick & Weller t-shirt, H&M trousers, Ann Taylor heels, Anthropologie necklace and Aldo clutch

I literally had to persuade my mum that I am not wearing PJ's but in fact real trousers! She's convinced I  just couldn't be bothered to put an entire outfit together. I love how relaxed this combination is though - all I had to do was add a statement necklace and bejeweled heels to take it up a notch.

What do you think about these trousers? Are you siding with my mum or me?

                                                 Revlon 'jaded' nail polish

Monday, August 5, 2013

Not your mum's Mary Janes!

I do believe I actually gasped when I saw these beautiful Mary Jane esque pumps by Tory Burch. The Imogene pump is made with calf hair and satin and showcases a dragonfly on a block heel. Little did I know that the dragonfly is a symbol of good luck, something I don't think would be necessary when wearing these heels. I do believe every bit of trash, slippery puddle or pothole would gladly jump out of the way for these museum worthy heels.