Megan Kristel

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Chic: White Bags

When I was little, my mom dressed me to the nines for Easter. Every year she put me in a fluffy dress, lace trimmed socks, a hat (usually with a giant flower on the brim) and finished the look with a tiny white bag and gloves. I was loving life and my mom, well, she was in her glory. It’s no wonder I become a bit of nostalgic every time I pass a shiny white bag sized for a little girl.

Now that I have girls of my own, I love to see what fills their own tiny bags. Their “must haves” include chap stick, extra bracelets, tiny bits of “important” paper and hair ties. Add a credit card and car keys and it’s not much different that what you’d find in my own bag.

For us big girls the perfect white bag is harder to find.  They often look cheap (even when they come with a hefty price tag), dingy or dated.   To keep the look crisp and modern, look for a bag with gold hardware, or in an interesting shape. This year, there are some options I love for myself and our clients. Take a look at my top 3 picks for white bags of the season.

White

1.  Aldo Gallington Clutch $19 (Also in Orange), 2.  J Crew Teddie Hobo, $238, 3.  Vince Camuto Edie Satchel $298

Looking for a crossbody bag?  Rebecca Minkoff makes a great one for under $200,  and Fossil has one that is clean and streamline for $130.

 

Accessorize: Gold Favorites

My style has always been the simple and classic version of whatever is trendy. Lately, I’ve been drawn more and more to clean, modern lines with architectural details. I love Pinterest personally and recommend our clients go on and create boards of the styles they like. It’s fun and interesting to scroll through a client’s board and see the consistent elements of their personal style. My own board has definitely evolved over the last few season.
One trend I see coming through in a big way is big gold accessories. Not “Mr. T” gold, rather, strategically placed accessories and accents (think bag hardware, shoe details, etc.) against a monochromatic, modern silhouette.

 

gold rush

1.  Ray Ban ‘Aviator’ Large ($235.00) – A classic that works with any style  2.  Maria Black Gold Diamond Ring ($825.00) – light and delicate an easy everyday option 3.  Adia Kibur Chain Necklace ($70.00) – a WOW piece!  4.  Roman Luxe Gold Chain Bangle ($63.00) – love this over a long sleeve silk blouse 5.  Kurt Geiger Bloom Clutch in Nude ($115) – a gorgeous combination of blush and gold.

 

Up and Running

Remember 3 weeks ago when I said I would be taking a week off?
Me too.
Since then we’ve finally listed house for sale, had an open house, I’ve flown all over the country with work and landed a few new amazing gigs that took all of my attention. We have yet to find a new house because everything, and I mean every single thing we see is less than desirable. You probably think I have crazy high expectations. I use to, for sure, now, I just want something that was cleaned every now and then and doesn’t have wall to wall shag carpeting (or mold). And, if it does have shag carpeting (or mold) … a price that reflects the condition. I can’t wrap my head around what people are paying for a house that needs massive renovations. Luckily, we have a fabulous relator who happens to by my Aunt, so she can’t fire us.
I digress.
I’m back and with spring upon us it’s time to start thinking about how we’re going to pull it all together this season. I’m starting off in an area I never focus on and that’s sneakers. For the longest time, I put sneakers in the category of gym gear and only gym gear. Now, with my kids so crazy active outside, I’m getting a good dose of reality. Case in point, Saturday was beautiful around our neck of the woods so we took the kids to the playground. It was a perfect kind of afternoon, they saw some friends from school and ran like the didn’t have a care in the world (which they don’t). I wore my everyday flats and by the time we got back to our car, regretted it. I had wood chips stuck to my feet and scuff marks all over my pretty flats.

A casual, dare I say,”dress” sneaker, seemed like the perfect solution. I’d like to look sporty and chic for my mom on the go Saturdays. The trick with rocking kicks outside of the gym is that you cannot wear your gym sneakers. I repeat: YOU CANNOT WEAR YOUR GYM SNEAKERS. You need a fresh, updated, not-worn-out-by-our-work-outs pair.

Below are my favorite sneakers appropriate for running after your kids or a lazy Sunday running errands. Wear them the right way and you might even be able to stop at your favorite local spot for a casual glass of wine.

Sneakers

1.  Sketchers Bungee Shoes ($49.99) 2.  New Balance 501 Retro Sneaker ($59.95)  3.  Burberry Vintage House Check ($265) – I can’t help myself :) 4.  Superga Slip on Sneaker $60.00

Blog Update

Ladies …
I’m taking the rest of the week “off” from the blog. I have to travel (again) this week for my real job, and we FINALLY list our house on Friday with an open house next Sunday. Instead of being crazy and overwhelmed, I’m simply prioritizing, and the real job and house wins this week. We can’t do it all at once, right?

I’ll be back on Monday with fresh content. In the meantime, check out some blogs I read daily for a dose of inspiration.

http://www.caphillstyle.com/

http://habituallychic.blogspot.com/

http://thezhush.blogspot.com/

http://www.dailyworth.com/

 

Chic: Theory Suit

 

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Theory Lanai Blazer ($375)

Theory Louise Pant ($275)

Recently, I took on an account that requires me to wear a jacket.  What? No dress with sleeves?  I seriously had nothing to wear.  Usually, the only time I wear a jacket, or blazer, it’s with a pair of jeans.  Since I would be living out of a tiny suitcase for these meetings, the best option was a pants suit.  The challenge was every time I wear one I feel as if it’s wearing me. Luckily, in my search, I found the perfect, modern, slim fitting suit that looks professional, wears well and makes me fell like a million bucks.

For a less expensive option, I find Limited to have the most similar suits in terms of slim lines and modern silhouette.  I like this two-button jacket option ($158), if you would like a pant with a bootcut, they offer a slimmer option that gives a better balance between hips and leg ($78).

Accessorized: Modern Ring

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Elizabeth and James Imperial Stacking Ring

$95

Rings are an often overlooked accessory. Most women have one or two in rotation. Some have an engagement ring or wedding band they were all the time, but other than that, rings don’t’ get a lot of attention. In my personal style, I tend to wear my wedding rings on my left hand and my 5 year anniversary ring on my right. (I’ve been married 10 years, so I’m probably due for something new ….)

My right hand ring is by far the most expensive, and precious piece of jewelry I own. I’ve worn it every day, with little exception since I received it. What’s the point of having something amazing if you’re going to save it for a special occasion?

Now, though, I’m thinking I could add a bit of variety to my look. I’m particularly fond of something modern. Something that doesn’t feel as precious as my regular pieces. This ring fits the bill in terms of style and price. For under a $100 you get high style from a coveted brand (if that sort of thing matters to you). I like it in the Green Amethyst. It’s also available in Smokey Quarts.

Beauty Buzz: Eve Lom Facial Cleanser

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Eve Lom Facial Cleanser

$80.00

Are you sick of me talking about our move yet? I know I am. The good news is it’s almost over. We list the house next week and with any luck it will sell quickly, and we will find something we like, in our budget that works within our time frame. Is that too much to ask?

As I was cleaning out our main bathroom, I found a basket with dozens of beauty samples. I tossed most of them, but a small kit, which was beautifully packaged and included a muslin cloth intrigued me. Vogue magazine called Eve Lom Facial Cleanser  ”probably the best cleanser in the world.” That’s a bold statement, Vogue, let’s find out …

At first, I thought this was going to be entirely too involved for an already time starved individual like myself. This is a process, but boy, was it worth it. Here’s how it works:

The cleanser is dense and feels more like a treatment than a wash. You need a small, dime size amount for your face and neck. Start with dry skin. If you are in full make up, that’s fine. This removes every bit and more.

Working the cleanser in a circular motion all around your face and neck. I put it everywhere, even over my eyes and eyebrows. It feels like an oil with micro cleansing beads. It’s lovely and indulgent.

Next, take the cloth included in the kit. Depending on what you order you will receive a few, you can also order more on Amazon. Dip the cloth in hot water and run across your face and neck in a circular motion, removing all of the dirt, grime and make up you accumulated during the day. Do it again. Keep cleaning until the cloth is clear.

Finally, run the cloth in cold water to close your pores. Follow up with any moisture you may use.

After my very first use, my skin felt amazing. It looked and felt the cleanest I ever remember. I ordered the kit above thinking I would use it once a week. For a few years now I was using my Clarisonic in the morning and at night and was very happy with it. I still am, but I decided to use it just in the evenings as I worried it was too rough on my sensitive skin. Now, I use the Clarisonic in the morning and Eve Lom in the evening.

I can not believe how much it takes off, and what my other cleansers were missing! I’ve been using this for 2 weeks now and see a definite, though subtle change in my skin. It feels soft, looks dewy and doesn’t feel stripped. While it’s not inexpensive, it it will last a good long time considering how little you need to cleanse your face and next. I highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed.

 

 

Biz: How to Get Along with Anyone

c63f2317292b0ac6b12c90eb44a7a3e5People do business with those they know, like and trust. I big part of my success is because I can get along with almost anyone. I don’t say that to boast. It was a learned skill and took years for me to master – master is a strong word – it took years for me to be good at. Now, it’s easy for me to adapt to my surroundings. Regardless of the audience, I can find common ground.

Early on, it was a survival skill. I was bullied in grade school. So much so that I hated going to school. When I entered high school, I was fortunate to have a fresh start and decided to take advantage of it. I was in a new school with a brand new group of girls. I made an effort to be “neutral”. To my great relief, it worked. This new skill allowed me to float in and out of any group. By the time I entered college, and joined a sorority, getting along with my new sisters and friends was my first form of networking. It helped when I rushed, and helped even more as I began to navigate the Greek community on campus. The effort I made was worth it. My college years were a blast. As a result, I found my voice and my true personality was able to come through. Now, as a business owner, I know firsthand that being well liked gets you want you need when you need it. The not to tricky trick is to be genuine. You have to have a true interest in the person you are speaking to. People can sniff out a “fakey-do” as my grandma calls them, a mile away.

This is just about being comfortable in your skin, having confidence, and being open to what the world has to offer. It’s also about stepping outside your comfort zone, thinking about others and going one step farther than what others will do. To get along with just about anyone consider the following:

1. It’s not about you. I hear all the time from coaching clients and it makes me crazy: “I don’t want to talk to someone who can’t help me. It’s a waste of time.” Well, if that’s your attitude you’re only going to go so far. When you are meeting new people, go into it with the attitude of what you can do for them, not the other way around. Even if a person can not advance your agenda, you can learn a bit about them and direct them to possible resources. You don’t have to spend your entire night with them. Being polite for 10 minutes never killed anyone.

 2. Read. Read everything you can get your hands on. The only way you are going to be able to speak intelligently to people and find common ground is if you know what’s going on. This doesn’t have to be time consuming. You only need 15 – 30 minutes a day to stay up to date on current events. No matter where I am in the country my morning routine includes a cup of coffee, a few blogs and news sites. I’ll read everything from entertainment to international news. Depending on the clients  I’m working with, and industries they are in, I’ll spend a few extra minutes reading about topics of interest to them. I make an effort to regularly read books on the NY Times bestseller list. I make sure I have a current book on my kindle for down time while waiting to board a plane or at karate practice with the kids. At night, I get a few extra minute in – until I finally pass out – and usually read something related to my work and business.

3. Be generous. Share your information, resources and advice, just don’t be a know-it-all. Be thoughtful in what you offer and be sure it is relevant to what the other persons needs. When this is done with purpose, it is a beautiful thing. You are positioned as an expert and are in service to others.

4. Smile. A smile is a simple and powerful way to immediately engage an audience.  Many people we work with are perfectly pleasant and happy, but they don’t show it on their face.  Be aware of your “resting face”,  be open in your body language and positive in your words. You’ll be a breath of fresh air to whomever you meet.

5. Be the first to engage. If you have ever attended an industry conference with its pre-conference cocktail party our dinner, you may also know the dread that is attending alone. Walking into a sea of people you don’t know can be overwhelming. Be the first to introduce yourself to a group or your table. This allows the rest of the group to relax and often puts you in a position of leadership. More than anything, most of the time the others in your group are relieved, and grateful someone started the conversation.

 6. Remember names. This one takes effort, but the payoff is huge. Learn how to remember names and details about the people you meet. Leave a lasting impression by remembering a person’s name and what you spoke about. Everyone loves to be remembered.

7. Be yourself, but better. When you are in a social situation, especially when you are meeting new people, be the version of yourself you want others to know. We all have bad days; fights with spouses, stuck in traffic, issues in the office, whatever is distracting you compartmentalize it and show up fully present. The worst thing you can do is be the negative complaining person that everyone is trying to get away from.

 8. Stay neutral. Keep your hot button topic opinions to yourself. Period. End of story. And that goes for social media too.

 9. Let your natural humor shine. The easiest way to be funny and disarming is to be self-deprecating. Humor can allow you to connect quickly with someone. For this to work, you have to pay attention to who you are speaking to and where they are coming from. For example, I wouldn’t make a joke about being a frantic mother to a male colleague without children. Find your common ground first – then bring in the humor.

10. Stay connected. Follow up with the people you meet. Use social media like LinkedIn or Facebook and send connection requests after you meet in person. If some had a big impact, or you would like to get to know them more, send them a hand written note. Sometimes I’ll send a small gift, like a book we discussed or other small token. Small things done with sincerity are a lost art. In today’s hustle and bustle world, it’s always noticed and appreciated.

What are your tips for connecting with people, even when you think you have nothing in common?

Chic: Updated Classic Trench

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Colorblock Cotton Twill Trench

LOFT ($148)

I may be buried in my trench. I love it that much. It’s become part of my everyday look once the temperature hits “perfect light coat weather.” I invested in a Burrberry last year.  Since then, I’ve got my moneys worth out of it. It’s simple, classic, and as long as it fits, I’ll be able to wear it. I spent the last few seasons updating my basics with better classics. Now, it’s time to add some personality.

While still keeping the look and feel of a traditional trench, this Colorblock Cotton Twill Trench, from LOFT of all places, is perfection. The combination of classic tan and navy feels nautical and updated. Gold buttons add interest and kicks the look up a notch. One challenge I see with this is it may feel too casual with different outfits underneath. Pairing this with simple, classic pieces will allow it to stand out and become the focal point. I would, of course, throw it over any kind of jeans and a simple top with either flats or heels. I would also put it over a dress, in a solid color or a simple skirt and blouse combination. Pattern will be a distraction. The eye won’t know where to look first, and you’ll lose the effect the coat could have.

 For $148, it’s a fantastic option and comes in Petite, Missy and Tall.

Casual Friday: 3 Step Dressing

As women in casual workplaces, it is imperative that you stay dressed a step above your male colleagues. Men have little choice in what they wear, and while they make mistakes, they are almost always forgivable. Women, on the other hand, are still held to a double standard. If a man comes in disheveled, the assumption is he is putting in long hours and should be commended. If a woman shows up in a similar state, it’s assumed she is overwhelmed and not capable. I hate these stereotypes, and I also live them. I’d rather understand the reality and make adjustments, rather than adhere to the common, “take me as I am” attitude I hear all too often.

A dress can be a simple solution to looking polished and professional while still approachable and comfortable. Dresses come in all categories, from those that are perfect for a highly professional environment to very casual. The dress below is a lovely option for the upcoming warmer weather. It has a sleeve, accentuated waistband and an appropriate length. Keep it simple. You don’t have to execute every outfit with a high level of thought. Some days you just want to throw on a dress, slip into some bright shoes, and grab your everyday bag. If you keep your nails, eyebrows and hair groomed, and some fresh make up – you will look poised without any fuss.

 

 

Casual Friday: 123 Dressing

Dress:  Kate Spade Lisa Dress (SALE $179) , Shoe:  Nine West Relaxinn Peep-Toe Wedge ($85)  Check these out! They come in a variety of classic and fun colors, Bag:  Mango Saffiano-Effect Tote ($60)

 

 

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